Radicalization and Self Identity

Terrorism literature survey suggests that certain people turn radical and among those who turn radicals some would decide to act violently and these whole process of radicalization is very much connected to the process of identity transformation. It is als argued that religion plays a significant role in this identity transformation process. Please review the literature extensively and demonstrate how religion can play a role in identity transformation also if necessary you can review terrorist causes adjudicated in US courts.
In writing your response to the above stated assignment please address the following issues:
1. Mention identity formation process
2. Define clearly the concept ‘identity’
3. Elaborate different theories of identity and identity formation.
4. Factors influence identity formation
5. Demonstrate the role of religion in identity formation
6. What is terrorism and who are the terrorists?
7. Describe new form of terrorism emerged across Middle East and other parts of world after 9/11
8. Explain the rise of ISIL and the radicalization processes
9. Terrorist cases of adjudicated in US – explain how identity transformation worked in relation to these cases did.
The notion that for whatever reason certain individuals’ turn radical through a
process of radicalization in relation to its connectedness of the identity transformation
process will be further elucidated within the contents of this paper. Prior research studies
support the assertion that religion, emotional attachment, and values all play a significant
role in the identity transformation process.
Identity considers the actions of an individual such as their impulsive gestures,
what they think, what they do, and what they feel. More importantly, identity is an
element that recognizes “… that people sometimes are drawn to violent extremist
ideologies and groups because they feel a need for belonging or because they lack some
kind of identity or a sense of personal meaning, which group affiliation can provide”
Theories of Identity
The following theories will be further elucidated, which are, social movement theory (i.e.
strain theory), faming theory, conversion theory, psychological development theory, and
social identity theory.
Social Movement Theory (SMT): Strain Theory
According to the text Zald and McCarthy define social movement as a set of beliefs and
opinions in a “… population, which represents preferences for changing some elements
of the social structure and/or reward distribution of a society” (Borum, 2011, p. 17).
Strain theory, in short, indicates that individuals who have had a significant amount of
human losses will at some point want to replenish their void, which may lead to criminal
“… New Social Movement (NSM) Theory, which focuses more on macro/ structural
processes, and Resource () Mobilization (RM) Theory, which focuses more on
contextual processes like group dynamics”
Framing Theory
Included within the Framing Theory it focuses on how social collectives and movements
disseminate, construct, and produce meaning.
Conversion Theory
Within the Conversion Theory this theory emphasizes focusing on the individual process
of transforming (in other words conversion) ideologies and beliefs.
The radicalization process can be used to refer to the notion that over a course of time
some individuals’ adopt the extremist beliefs and ideologies. Furthermore, the process of
radicalization in the context of the literature can be referred to as “…radicalization into
violent extremism (RVE), which refers to the processes by which people come to adopt
beliefs that not only justify violence but compel it, and how they progress- or not- from
thinking to action”
Conceptualized models of the radicalization process have been created with intentions to
explain the process of radicalization. However, these are underdeveloped models that few
of have been subjected to any rigorous systematic of scientific inquiry
***“Within this “developmental” or “pathway” approach, radicalization is viewed not as
the product of a single decision but the end result of a dialectical process that gradually
pushes an individual toward a commitment to violence over time”
***“Several efforts have been made, however, to articulate a general sequence of stages,
events, or issues that might apply across and within group types”
***“It is certainly clear that different pathways and mechanisms operate in different ways
for different people”
Borum, R. (2011). Radicalization into Violent Extremism I: A Review of Social Science
Theories. Journal of Strategic Security JSS, 4(4), 7-36. doi:10.5038/1944-
Borum, R. (2011). Radicalization into Violent Extremism II: A Review of Conceptual
Models and Empirical Research. Journal of Strategic Security JSS, 4(4), 37-62.
Drury, J., & Reicher, S. (2005). Explaining enduring empowerment: A comparative study
of collective action and psychological out- comes. European Journal of Social
Psychology, 35, 35-58.
Hossain, M. (2008). Women Members of NGOs of Bangladesh: The Natural Grassroots
Barriers to Islamist Extremism. International Relations and Diplomacy, 2, 489
Identity and Pluralism: Ethnicity, Religion and Values, 1-120. (2008). Retrieved October
10, 2015, from www.liu.se/cte/.
Keaton, S. A., & Gearhart, C. C. (2013). Identity Formation, Identity Strength, and Self
Categorization as Predictors of Affective and Psychological Outcomes: A Model
Reflecting Sport Team Fans’ Responses to Highlights and Lowlights of a College
Football Season. Communication & Sport, 2(4), 363-385.
Kerpelman, J. (2006). Interpersonal Identity and Social Capital: The Importance of
Commitment for Low Income, Rural, African American Adolescents. Journal of
Black Psychology, 32(2), 219-242. doi:10.1177/0095798406286844
Liles, T. (2012, February). Islam and Religious Transformation in Adjara. Retrieved
October 10, 2015, from
Postmes, T., Haslam, S. A., & Swaab, R. I. (2005). Social influence in small groups: An
interactive model of social identity formation. European Review of Social
Psychology, 16(1), 1-42. doi:10.1080/10463280440000062
Reicher, S. (2004). The Context of Social Identity: Domination, Resistance, and Change.
Political Psychology, 25(6), 921-945. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9221.2004.00403.x
MINNESOTA, 1-121. Retrieved October 10, 2015, from
Smtih, L. G. E. (2008). The Impact of Intra-group Inteaction on Identity and Action.
Unpublished doctoral thesis, University on Exeter, Exeter, UK.
Thomas, E. F., Mcgarty, C., & Mavor, K. I. (2009). Aligning Identities, Emotions, and
Beliefs to Create Commitment to Sustainable Social and Political Action.
Personality and Social Psychology Review, 13(3), 194-218.
Van Zomeren, M., Spears, R., & Leach, C. W. (2008). Exploring psychological
mechanisms of collective action: Does relevance of group identity
influence how people cope with disadvantage? British Journal of Social
Psychology, 47, 353-372.
Wilner, A. S., & Dubouloz, C. (2010). Homegrown terrorism and transformative
learning: An interdisciplinary approach to understanding radicalization. Global
Change, Peace & Security, 22(1), 33-51. doi:10.1080/14781150903487956
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