Elements of Extremism: Does One Size Fit All

Date

2020-05

Authors

Keglovits, Kelly

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Abstract

Extremist groups are something that people hear about frequently enough that everyone is familiar with the term. They consist of people and/or groups with an ideology that exceeds the normal, and often, are brought to the attention of the public when they act out in accordance with the extreme beliefs. This paper seeks to examine past the question of if a system of beliefs is extreme, and instead targets the question of how it came to be that way. This paper will use the theory of J.M. Berger, who through a historical analysis of one known extremist group, claims his theory to be a “universal process of extremization”. Using two extremist ideologies from vastly different sides of the ideological and political spectrum, the Weathermen and Bronze Age Pervert, my research seeks to test out the “universal” claims of Berger’s theory, as well as determine the future value of such a theory, as a mean of prediction and intervention for future violence for extremist groups.

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