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Radicalization as an individual process and a social phenomenon: foreign theories and Russian realities

Vnukova Liubov

PhD in Politics

Senior Scientific Associate, Federal Research Centre the Southern Scientific Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences

344006, Russia, Rostovskaya oblast', g. Rostov-Na-Donu, ul. Chekhova, 41

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Abstract: The article adapts the foreign interdisciplinary approach to the phenomenon of radicalization for understanding contemporary Russian realities. Existing factors - precursors, promoting radicalization, are identified and analyzed from the standpoint of the system approach. Transformative learning theory is drawn from psychology to explain the processes taking place in the consciousness of an adult person during his/her transformation into a radical terrorist capable of violent actions. The foreign theories have a heuristic potential, but they are not properly represented in Russian-language studies.The article is written on the basis of an interdisciplinary approach using general scientific methods of analysis and synthesis, induction and deduction.A. Wilner and C.-J. Dubouloz consider three precursors of the radicalization process in their study: socio-political alienation, deep religious identity as opposed to globalization and discontent with the foreign policy of the state. Socio-political factors are objective and projected onto the individual personal circumstances through the prism of his/her psychological characteristics and ideological convictions. It does not matter whether the reasons are subjective (problems in the family, the impossibility to realize personal aspirations, death, divorce, etc.) or objective (socioeconomic, political, ecological, etc.), psychological processes of rethinking and searching for new meaningful prospects in the conditions of instability. The key role in this process belongs to ideology in a broad sense, including religion, and the relevant values. Ideology allows an individual to talk about justice, evaluate events. Objective conditions - precursors or socio-political factors - affect the entire society, the information-ideological field is the same for all, but there is no complete radicalization. Everyone chooses from the proposed set of ideas those shaping or transforming their own worldview. Involvement in radical social groups and networks contributes to the perception of violent acts and terrorism. Understanding of the processes of personal transformation in the mind of an individual explains why people, using a unique combination of causes in each case, come to the same result - go on the path of violence, exposing themselves and their closed ones to danger. The radicalization theories explain the processes both in Western countries, in Africa, and in Russia and Asia, that's why we can conclude that they are universal.

Keywords: Factors of radicalization, The North Caucasus, Transformative learning theory, Psychological processes of radicalization, terrorism, Ideology, Radicalization, Radical Islam, Interdisciplinary approach, Radicalization in Russia
This article written in Russian. You can find full text of article in Russian here .

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