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Religious Radicalization: Social Appraisals and Finding Radical Redemption in Extreme Beliefs
Current Opinion in Psychology  (IF5.717),  Pub Date : 2021-08-01, DOI: 10.1016/j.copsyc.2020.08.028
Beatrice A de Graaf, Kees van den Bos

In this article, we review the psychology of religion and radicalization. In doing so, we note that both macro-level approaches (that study structural conditions in society) and micro-level approaches (that focus on psychological coping and personal appraisal of individual conditions) fail to adequately explain radical behavior of members of extreme religious groups. Instead, we propose that meso-level approaches best explain religious radicalization. These meso-level approaches explain how members of extreme religious groups appraise societal conditions and find redemption in radical beliefs. In particular, we argue for a more in-depth examination of the historical and societal contexts in which various radicalization processes take place and narratives of radical redemption hold sway.