Simon Cottee

Academic and Author


The Word ‘Radicalization’ Has Lost All Meaning

In 2008, back when politics in America and Western Europe was polarized but not completely unhinged, the terrorism scholar Peter Neumann nicely summarized radicalization as "what goes on before the bomb goes off." While this left a lot of blanks to fill in, it had the distinct merit of underscoring the link between radicalization and political violence: If you want to figure out how someone commits an act of terrorism, you need to understand how, prior to this, they became convinced that killing people for politics is a good idea.

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