Working Paper 14: Beyond the Continuum: Contrasting Images from Violent and Non-Violent Radicalization

This working paper rests on an array of snapshots from violent and non-violent radicalization, well-mediatized or somewhat clandestine. In doing so, the paper problematizes understanding radicalization as a continuum from the non-violent and moderate to the violent and radical. Instead, it first offers a perspective to see how violent a moderation process could become, given that moderation in one context (e.g., religious moderation) does not mean moderation all along (e.g., the religiously moderated Christians in racist-paganistic extremist movements). Then, the author discusses how non-violent a radicalization process can become, given that violent extremism often involves reducing the ideology into violence, whereas the complete form of an ideology, and radicalization as seeking completeness as such, involves much more. By bringing together these two directions, the paper goes beyond the studies imagining radicalization exclusively as a transition to violence, as well as the studies that define radicalization as exclusive of embracing political violence.