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Understanding the Micro-situational Dynamics of White Supremacist violence in the United States

NCJ Number
Perspectives on Terrorism Volume: 12 Issue: 6 Dated: DEC 2018 Pages: 23-37
Steven Windisch; Pete Simi; Kathleen Blee; Matthew DeMichele
Date Published
December 2018
15 pages

Relying on in-depth life history interviews with 89 former white supremacists, we analyzed the situational, emotional, and moral considerations surrounding white supremacist violence.


While substantial effort has been devoted to investigating the radicalization process and developing theories to explain why this occurs, surprisingly few studies offer explanations of the micro-situational factors that characterize how extremists accomplish violence. Overall, we identified a variety of strategies white supremacists utilize for overcoming emotional and cognitive obstacles required to perform violent action. Furthermore, we also identified the callous effect of habitual violence. We conclude this article with suggestions for future research and recommendations for practitioners addressing terrorism prevention initiatives. (Publisher Abstract)