Effects of Context(s) on Political Radicalisation

Kordoni, Anastasia (2023) Effects of Context(s) on Political Radicalisation. PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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Understanding the drivers of political radicalisation is necessary to predict and plan for radicalised responses. While the radicalisation literature shows an increasing interest in the ways context elicits radicalised behaviours, empirical research in this area remains limited. Additionally, while this literature categorises context into individual, group, and mass level, it has rarely systematically tested how a combination of these categories affect radical behavioural outcomes. In this thesis, I argue that accounting for the interdependency between different context categories can explain the heterogeneity of radicalisation processes and outcomes. I draw on contextual challenges that are prevalent in our social reality to examine how individuals’ online/offline societal experiences, alongside broader categories of socio-political contexts and national cultural references, drive radical endorsements. More specifically, I use this context interdependency to examine both radical shifts and the underlying processes that direct these shifts. In doing so, I propose a conceptual framework which identifies the biopsychosocial mechanisms that are likely to stimulate radical action (Chapter 1). A contextual approach to political radicalisation assumes that different sets of context categories interact in diverse ways and are likely to instigate psychological processes that drive different forms of radical outcomes. To investigate this assumption, I explored how context interdependency affects physio-cognitive and group processes to elicit support for radical actions. Using big data (Google search data) and two different experimental designs (with the general population and students from the UK and USA), I showed how combining online societal experiences and socio-cultural contexts predicts radical shifts in response to practices of surveillance and privacy violation over time (Chapter 2). Extending this research, five experiments were carried out to show that radical endorsement-as measured with response to hate speech, Brexit, vote denials in European elections, and climate change- are predicted by a combination of online/offline societal experiences, socio-political and national cultural contexts and determined by physio-cognitive processes, identity processes and individual belief systems (Chapter 3). Theoretical implications for the importance of context in shaping political radicalisation and practical implications for explaining radical shifts are provided (Chapter 4).

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Thesis (PhD)
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Research Output Funding/yes_internally_funded
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23 Feb 2023 18:05
Last Modified:
12 Sep 2023 00:56