Transformative Radicalization: Applying Learning Theory to Islamist Radicalization

Alex S. Wilner and Claire-Jehanne Dubouloz have a new article in ‘Studies in Conflict and Terrorism’.


While a consensus has emerged concerning the role radicalization plays in persuading Westerners to participate in terrorism, little research investigates the cognitive processes inherent to radicalization processes. Transformative learning theory, developed from the sciences in education and rehabilitation, offers an interdisciplinary lens with which to study the processes of personal change associated with radicalization. Transformative radicalization explains how triggering factors lead to critical reflection of meaning perspectives and personal belief systems that guide and alter behavior. Using an autobiographical account of the radicalization process, this study offers a plausibility probe of an inherently interdisciplinary and novel theoretical framework.

One Response

  1. I think the biggest threat in this generation is not terrorism or terrorist, rather, the manifest existence of the causes and consequences of terrorism. Whether in the west or east, or even in Africa, inherent socio-economic and political injustice is the only soul and spirit of the radicalization going on now.

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