Research Topic

Thinking on the Edge: An Interdisciplinary Look at Ideological Extremism

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About this Research Topic

The study of religious and political extremism is currently one of the fastest expanding areas of research, both inside and outside of academia. Given its deep social ramifications, the threat posed by ideological extremism is studied from a wide range of disciplines, spanning the full spectrum of social and ...

The study of religious and political extremism is currently one of the fastest expanding areas of research, both inside and outside of academia. Given its deep social ramifications, the threat posed by ideological extremism is studied from a wide range of disciplines, spanning the full spectrum of social and natural sciences, and at different levels of analysis, ranging from states, to groups, and individuals.

Despite the vast amount of attention it has garnered over the years, the study of ideological extremism is beset by important shortcomings. Chief among them is the paucity of robust empirical findings to guide security agencies, practitioners, and policy-makers in their efforts to develop effective strategies to prevent and counter these systems of belief.

The purpose of this Research Topic is to address this gap by highlighting new advances in the study of religious and political extremism.

The set of articles included in this issue will employ an evidence-based approach to probe empirical questions related to the (1) detection and measurement of violent extremism, (2) process of violent radicalization and the role of cyberspace in facilitating recruitment into terrorist networks, (3) effectiveness of deradicalization methods to rehabilitate extremists and (4) interventions to prevent violent radicalization, build community resilience, and support victims of extremist attacks.

We wish to collect manuscripts focused on themes that are directly related or interconnected to extremism, including:

· Online Propaganda Trends
· Psychological dynamics and practical issues of leaving violent extremism
· Effectiveness of deradicalization programs
· Models of trajectories leading to violent extremism
· Risk and protection factors for involvement in terrorist organizations
· Effectiveness of counter-narrative strategies
· Role of cyberspace in stimulating and facilitating recruitment into terrorist networks.
· Detection of radicalization using text-mining and Big Data
· Collective responses to violent extremism and co-radicalization
· Approaches to building resilience against violent extremism
· Community programs to prevent or counter violent extremism
· Assessment tools: existing and emerging methodologies of measurement.
· The role of defectors and their role in countering violent extremism
· Management of violent extremists in prison
· Artificial intelligence to detect radicalization
· Gender differences in radicalization
· Cognitive architecture of radical beliefs
· Ethical issues in deradicalization

We welcome submissions addressing theoretical, methodological, or empirical issues related to these themes. We aim to collect articles from multiple disciplines such as Psychology, Criminology, Computer-Science/Big Data, Communication, and Sociology.

Cross-, inter-, and transdisciplinary approaches are particularly welcome. We hope that the breadth of perspectives will provide enlightening ways of addressing known risk and enhancing protective factors to prevent religious and political extremism. We are especially interested in empirical research relevant to policy-making with downstream implications for community stakeholders and front-line workers.


Keywords: radicalization, deradicalization, terrorism, ideologically-motivated violence, ideological extremism


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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