‘Radicalisation’: The Transformation of Modern Understanding of Terrorist Origins, Psychology and Motivation

Andrew Silke, Katherine Brown

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Post 9/11, understanding how people become terrorists has come to be discussed in terms of “radicalisation”. Today, radicalisation is typically seen to refer to a complex and dynamic process which results in individuals coming to embrace a violent ideology in support of a political or religious cause. Without doubt, the issue of radicalisation has become a core fixture of contemporary efforts to understand and combat terrorism. Yet, clearly, terrorism has an extraordinarily long history and what is called radicalisation today, in the past was referred to do much more mundanely as “becoming” a terrorist, “joining” a terrorist group or of being “recruited”. No one talked of the IRA being radicalised, or Shining Path, or Black September or the Red Brigades. Though all of these older groups certainly were by our modern understanding.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationState, Society, and National Security
Subtitle of host publicationChallenges and Opportunities in the 21st Century
EditorsShashi Jayakumar
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherWorld Scientific
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9789813140134
ISBN (Print) 9789813109988 , 9789813109995
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • radicalisation
  • terrorist psychology
  • psychology of terrorism

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