Terrorism is an extreme form of radicalization. In this ground-breaking and important book, Clark McCauley and Sophia Moskalenko identify and outline twelve mechanisms of political radicalization that can move individuals, groups, and the masses to increased sympathy and support for political violence.
Co-authored by two psychologists both acknowledged in their field as experts in radicalization and consultants to the Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies, Friction draws on wide-ranging case histories to show striking parallels between 1800s anti-czarist terrorism, 1970s anti-war terrorism, and 21st century jihadist terrorism. Altogether, the twelve mechanisms of political radicalization demonstrate how unexceptional people are moved to exceptional violence in the conflict between states and non-state challengers.
In this revised and expanded edition, McCauley and Moskalenko use the twelve mechanisms to analyze recent cases of lone-wolf terrorists and illustrate how individuals can become radicalized to jihadist violence with group influence or organizational support. Additionally, in the context of the Islamic State's worldwide efforts to radicalize moderate Muslims for jihad, they advance a model that differentiates radicalization in opinion from radicalization in action, and suggest different strategies for countering these diverse forms of radicalization. As a result, the authors conclude that the same mechanisms are at work in radicalizing both terrorists and states targeted by terrorists, implying that these conclusions are as relevant for policy-makers and security officers as they are for citizens facing the threat of terror today.
"McCauley (Why Not Kill Them All?), co-director of the Solomon Asch Center for the Study or Ethnopolitical Conflict, and Moskalenko, a research fellow at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, seek a more complex discussion of terrorism, and methodically examine radicalizationEL. A better understanding of the mechanisms under which terrorism thrives can lead to more efficacious counter-terrorism policies. A valuable contribution to the ongoing dialogue." --Publishers Weekly
"McCauley and Moskalenko markedly advance and order our understanding of how individuals are radicalized and why the process often yields terrorists. The authors impart needed discipline and common sense to a field where abstract theory unconnected to reality often dominates. Most important, the authors describe and analyze the very personal, dramatic, disorienting, and frequently searing experiences that put men and women on radicalization's path." --Michael Scheuer, former senior officer, Central Intelligence Agency; Adjunct Professor, Security Studies Program, Georgetown University; and author of Osama bin Laden
"Anyone concerned with predicting or intervening against intergroup violence should read this book. The authors engagingly present a wide range of case studies to show how individuals, groups, and mass publics are mobilized for political conflict." --Todd Leventhal, Director of Interagency Strategic Communication Network, U.S. Department of State
"In this brilliant book, McCauley and Moskalenko exploit our interest in true crime stories to help us overcome our inability to think objectively about the Islamic terrorism we are now battling. They tell us stories about the first modern terrorist group, fighting the Czar in the late 19th century, and then show us the same patterns at work in American homegrown terrorists and Islamic terrorists. This is social psychology at its best - dramatic stories exemplifying accessible theories, backed up by clever experiments and set into multiple historical contexts. You'll understand terrorists for the first time, and you'll see how we can best thwart their goals by refusing to play their game." --Jonathan Haidt, Professor of Psychology, University of Virginia, and author of The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom
"McCauley and Moskalenko present a vivid, theoretically grounded, and historically wide-ranging account of the social psychological processes that can drive ordinary people to radicalization and violence. The analysis skillfully illuminates a complex phenomenon without trivializing or over-simplifying, and its emphasis on the reciprocal dynamics of conflict adds critical balance. In comparing the Russian revolutionary movement of the nineteenth century to contemporary extremist groups of assorted persuasions, the authors have produced an impressively thorough and compelling explanation of the intricate mechanisms behind the resort to violence in the service of a cause." --Martha Crenshaw, Senior Fellow, Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University, and author of Explaining Terrorism: Causes, Processes and Consequences
"What do militants of the old Russian terrorist group, People's Will, and current-day Al Qaeda have in common? Going beyond stereotypes of terrorists' pathological personalities, this book presents compelling evidence of a complex set of causal mechanisms working at the individual and group levels. In many and diverse contexts, this book shows the importance of identification and politicization processes in transforming grievances into action in underground violent organizations." --Donatella Della Porta, Professor of Sociology, European University Institute, and author of Social Movements, Political Violence, and the State: A Comparative Analysis of Italy and Germany
"People commonly react to horrendous acts of violence such as the 9/11 attacks by searching for explanations that focus on the culprits. In strong contrast, McCauley and Moskalenko argue that terrorism is fueled by the friction between radical extremists and the individuals and ideas they oppose. This thoughtful, yet readable, book shows that horrendous or not, terrorists cannot escape basic principles of social psychology- but then, neither can the rest of us." --Gary LaFree, Director, National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), and author of Losing Legitimacy: Street Crime and the Decline of Social Institutions in America
"In this excellent book, the authors describe the personal experiences and psychology of individuals, as well as the dynamics of groups, which lead to radicalization. Mechanisms of radicalization- including personal and political grievances, ideals, inducement by friends, the attractions of risk-taking and status, and the interdependence of people in groups-are highlighted through stories of terrorists in earlier times and today. This is a compelling, highly readable book that offers impressive understanding of terrorist individuals and groups." --Ervin Staub, Founding Director, Psychology of Peace and Violence Program, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and author of Overcoming Evil: Genocide, Violent Conflict, and Terrorism
"So much has been written about radicalization that is generic or apocryphal that the field needs desperately to find a contribution that is systematic, research-based, clear, and persuasive. And that is the task that McCauley and Moskalenko have taken on, and triumphantly achieved. The book works analytically; it works because it tells the tales of the violent and radicalized comprehensively, and it works because it does not just focus on 'them', but on 'us, and on the inter-relationship. In short, it is the most important book written on this complex and politicized subject to date." --Stuart Croft, Professor of International Security, Warwick University, UK, and author of Culture, Crisis and America's War on Terror
"This book introduces twelve mechanisms that underlie political radicalization and lead to violence and terrorism. In their highly systematic yet readable account, the authors identify mechanisms that can be found at work in every terrorist group, whatever its ideology. The authors provide new and effective tools for understanding political events, and for recognizing and controlling the extent to which radicalization affects all of us. Cases of modern and 19th century terrorists are interwoven to offer vividness and historical depth." --Ifat Maoz, Director, Smart Communications Institute, Hebrew University of Israel
About the Authors:
Clark McCauley is the Rachel C. Hale Professor of Sciences and Mathematics and Co-Director of the Solomon Asch Center for the Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict at Bryn Mawr College. He received his Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1970. With Dan Chirot, he co-authored Why Not Kill Them All? The Logic and Prevention of Mass Political Murder, published by Princeton University Press in 2006. He is the founding editor of the journal Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict: Pathways toward Terrorism and Genocide.
Sophia Moskalenko is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (NC-START) and a consultant with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. She received her Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2004. Her research and publications have focused on group identification, political activism, radicalization, and terrorism.