What is it about?

This analysis examines the current academic understandings of the religious and social factors towards radicalisation and analyses the impact of these understandings on the formation and implementation of various counter terrorism policies.

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Why is it important?

Current strategies implemented in countering radicalisation and violent extremism are arguably based on flawed assumptions concerning individual and community vulnerability. This analysis reviews academic understandings of these religious and social motivators to evaluate the impact of these flawed assumptions on the individuals and communities which are targeted by the counter terrorism policies.


This analysis concludes that while religion may lead to radicalisation, membership of social groups and the psychological influences of these memberships are the primary sources of radicalisation and the engagement in violent extremism.

Brandon Sparke
Macquarie University

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This page is a summary of: The religious vs. social radicalisation debate: current understandings and effects on policy, Journal of Policing Intelligence and Counter Terrorism, January 2019, Taylor & Francis,
DOI: 10.1080/18335330.2018.1501807.
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