This collective paper on radicalization and violent extremism part of the ‘Philosophy of education in a new key’ initiative by Educational Philosophy and Theory brings together some of the leading contemporary scholars writing on the most pressing epistemological, ethical, political and educational issues facing post-9/11 scholarship on radicalization and violent extremism. Its overall aim is to move beyond the ‘conventional wisdom’ associated with this area of scholarly research best represented by its many slogans, metaphors and other thought-terminating clichés. By providing (...) conceptual lenses on issues previously compartmentalized primarily [or even exclusively] in security and intelligence studies or at the fringes of scholarly interest, radicalization and violent extremism turn out to be much more complex than ‘radicalization studies’ has been eager to acknowledge. (shrink)
Whitehouse adapts insights from evolutionary anthropology to interpret extreme self-sacrifice through the concept of identity fusion. The model neglects the role of normative systems in shaping behaviors, especially in relation to violent extremism. In peaceful groups, increasing fusion will actually decrease extremism. Groups collectively appraise threats and opportunities, actively debate action options, and rarely choose violence toward self or others.