Radicalization (or radicalisation) is a process by which an individual, or group comes to adopt increasingly extreme political, social, or religious ideals and aspirations that reject or undermine the status quo or undermine contemporary ideas and expressions of the nation. The outcomes of radicalization are shaped by the ideas of the society at large; for example, radicalism can originate from a broad social consensus against progressive changes in society or from a broad desire for change in society. Radicalization can be both violent and nonviolent, although most academic literature focuses on radicalization into violent extremism. There are multiple pathways that constitute the process of radicalization, which can be independent but are usually mutually reinforcing.
Radicalization that occurs across multiple reinforcing pathways greatly increases a group’s resilience and lethality. Furthermore, by compromising its ability to blend in with non-radical society and participate in a modern, national economy, radicalization serves as a kind of sociological trap that gives individuals no other place to go to satisfy their material and spiritual needs.
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