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Developmental Disorders and Political Extremism: A Case Study of Asperger Syndrome and the Neo-Nazi Subculture

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice Volume: 13 Issue: 4 Dated: July-September 2013 Pages: 341-354
Mark T. Palermo, M.D.
Date Published
August 2013
14 pages
This case study of an adolescent "neo-Nazi theorist" with Asperger syndrone (AS) is presented and used as a clinical example of political extremism.
The involvement of psychiatry in the political arena is common, controversial and not free of risks. As its object of inquiry is abnormal behavior and its effect on individuals, groups, and society, this may be unavoidable. However, medicalization of social phenomena may lead to inconclusive associations between diagnostic categories and complex behaviors, and clinical profiling. Furthermore, if medicalized, social behaviors that are multifactorial in nature by definition may dangerously become the target of "treatment." The case of a boy with Asperger syndrome and his involvement with right-wing extremism is presented and discussed in light of his specific social-cognitive vulnerabilities. Abstract published by arrangement with Taylor and Francis.