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Why Radicalization Fails: Barriers to Mass Casualty Terrorism

NCJ Number
Terrorism and Political Violence Volume: 32 Issue: 4 Dated: 2020 Pages: 831-850
Date Published
20 pages

Based on in-depth life history interviews, the current study examined five types of barriers that hinder radicalization toward mass casualty violence (MCV). 


Few issues have garnered as much attention in recent years as the topic of violent extremism (VE). Although substantial attention has been devoted to investigating the radicalization process, few scholars have examined the obstacles that hinder VE radicalization. In the current study, the five obstacles considered a hindrance to radicalization were mass casualty violence as counter-productive; preference toward interpersonal violence; changes in focus and availability; internal organizational conflict; and moral apprehension. In general, the study addressed each barrier’s unique contribution to hindering the likelihood of MCV. Finally, the article discusses how these findings could be used as part of initiatives aimed at countering violent extremism (CVE). (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2020