Radicalisation:A Social Psychological Perspective (Part III)



Radicalism and extremism have extremely serious consequences for human life and threaten the existence of humanity. The problem of deradicalisation is in the focus of our attention in this paper. The theory of uncertainty-identity describes the psychological mechanism by which the transformation of uncertainty into extremism occurs, by which a person experiencing a feeling of uncertainty, especially if this feeling is acute in its severity and is experienced for a long time, then the person tends not only to highly entitative, but to extremist groups. If this theory does not describe the mechanism of deradicalisation, then the conditions under which an individual, experiencing a feeling of uncertainty, still does not seek to become a member of groups with extremist and radical beliefs. This paper focuses on the analysis of these obstacles in the way towards extremism and radicalism. In addition, the potential of the social identity model of recovery formulated on the example of the social identity of addicts is discussed.

General Information

Keywords: deradicalisation, uncertainty, social identity, group norms, identity change

Journal rubric: Interdisciplinary Studies

Article type: scientific article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17759/psylaw.2021110114

Funding. Bovina I. B. performed theoretical and analytical research on the problem of radicalization with the financial support of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR) in the framework of the scientific project «Expansion (Competition for financial support for the preparation and publication of scientific review articles)» - № 19-113-50280.

For citation: Bovin B.G., Bovina I.B., Tikhonova A.D. Radicalisation:A Social Psychological Perspective (Part III) [Elektronnyi resurs]. Psikhologiya i pravo = Psychology and Law, 2021. Vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 181–194. DOI: 10.17759/psylaw.2021110114. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


  1. Beladavi S., Hogg M.A. Social categorisation and identity process in uncertainty management: the role of intragroup communication. In: S.R.Thye, E.J.Lawler (eds.). Advances in Group Processes. Bingley: Emerald Publishing Limited, 2019, pp. 61-77. DOI:10.1108/S0882-614520190000036006
  2. Best D., Beckwith M., Haslam C., Haslam S. A., Jetten J., Mawson E., Lubman D. Overcoming alcohol and other drug addiction as a process of social identity transition: the social identity model of recovery (SIMOR). Addiction Research and Theory, 2015.Vol. 24, pp.111-123
  3. Campbell D. Common Fate, similarity, and other indices of the status of aggregates of persons as social entities. Behavioral Science, 1958. Vol. 3, pp.14-25.
  4. Doosje B., Moghaddam F.M., Kruglanski A.W., de Wolf A., Mann L., Feddes A.R. Terrorism, radicalization, and de-radicalization. Current Opinion in Psychology, 2016. Vol.11, pp. 79-84.
  5. Elshimi M.S. Introduction. In: M.S. Elshimi (ed.). De-Radicalisation in the UK Prevent Strategy: Security, Identity and Religion. Abington: Routledge, 2017, pp.1-19
  6. Gaffney A.M., Rast III D.E., Hogg M.A. Uncertainty and Influence: The Advantages (and Disadvantages) of Being Atypical. Journal of Social Issues, 2018.Vol.74, pp.20-35.DOI: 10.1111/josi.12254
  7. Goldman L., Giles H., Hogg M.A. Going to extremes: Social identity and communication processes associated with gang membership. Group Processes and Intergroup relations, 2014. Vol.17, pp.813-832.DOI:10.1177/1368430214524289
  8. Goldman L., Hogg M.A. Going to extremes for one’s group: the role of prototypicality and group acceptance. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 2016. Vol. 46, pp.544-553. DOI:10.1111/jasp.12382.
  9. Grip L., Kotajoki J. Deradicalisation, disengagement, rehabilitation and reintegration of violent extremists in conflict-affected contexts: a systematic literature review. Conflict, Security and Development, 2019. Vol.19, pp.371-402. DOI:10.1080/14678802.2019.1626577
  10. Guidère M. Atlas du terrorisme islamiste: d’Al-Qaida à Daech. Paris: Editions Autrement, 2017. 95 p.
  11. Harris K. J. Leaving ideological social groups behind: A Grounded theory of psychological disengagement. Doctoral Thesis: Edith Cowan University. 2015. https://ro.ecu.edu.au/theses/1587 (Accessed: 18.01.2020).
  12. Haslam C., Jetten J., Cruwys T., Dingle G., Haslam S.A. The new psychology of health. London: Routledge, 2018. 490 p.
  13. Hogg M.A. From uncertainty to extremism: social categorisation and identity process. Current direction in psychological science, 2014. Vol.23, pp.338-342.
  14. Hogg M. A. Uncertainty-identity theory. In P. A. M. Van Lange, A. W. Kruglanski, & E. T. Higgins (eds.). Handbook of theories of social psychology. Sage Publications Ltd, 2012, pp.62-80.DOI:10.4135/9781446249222.n29
  15. Hogg M. A. Uncertainty-identity theory. In: M. P. Zanna (ed.). Advances in experimental social psychology. San Diego, CA: Academic Press, 2007. Vol. 39, pp. 69-126.
  16. Hogg M.A. To belong or not to belong: some self-conceptual and behavioral consequences of identity uncertainty. Revista de Psicología Social, 2015. Vol.30, pp.586-613. DOI:10.1080/02134748.2015.1065090
  17. Hogg M.A. Self-uncertainty, social identity and the solace of extremism. In: M.A.Hogg, D.L.Blaylock (eds.). Extremism and psychology of uncertainty. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012, pp.19-35.
  18. Hogg M.A., Wagoner J.A. Uncertainty-identity theory. In: K. Young Yun (ed.). The International Encyclopedia of Intercultural Communication. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2017, pp.1-9.DOI:10.1002/9781118783665.ieicc0177
  19. Horgan J. Deradicalization or Disengagement? A Process in Need of Clarity and a Counterterrorism Initiative in Need of Evaluation. Perspective on terrorism, 2008.Vol.2, pp.3-8.
  20. Jung J., Hogg M.A., Choi H.-S. Recategorization and ingroup projection: Two processes of identity uncertainty reduction. Journal of Theoretical Social Psychology, 2019. Vol.3, pp. 97—114.DOI:10.1002/jts5.37
  21. Kruglanski A. W., Gelfand M., Bélanger J. J., Shaveland A., Hettiarachchi M., Gunaratna R. The psychology of radicalization and deradicalization: How significance quest impacts violent extremism. Political Psychology, 2014. Vol.35, pp. 69 —93.DOI: 10.1111/pops.12163
  22. McCauley C. The ABC model: Commentary from the Perspective of the Two Pyramids Model of Radicalization. Terrorism and Political Violence, 2020. DOI: 10.1080/09546553.2020.1763964
  23. Moliner P. Radicalisation, déradicalisation… Que savons-nous au juste? The conversation. 2.06.2017 https://theconversation.com/radicalisation-deradicalisation-que-savons-nous-au-juste-78495 (Accessed: 18.02.2020).
  24. Moscovici S. Psychologie des minorités actives. 1979.Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. 275 p.
  25. Sani F. When Subgroups Secede: Extending and Refining the Social Psychological Model of Schism in Groups. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 2005. Vol.31, pp.1074—1086. DOI:10.1177/0146167204274092
  26. Sani F., Todman J. Should we stay or should we go? A social psychological model of schisms in groups.Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 2002. Vol. 28, pp.1647—1655. DOI:/10.1177/014616702237646
  27. Syafiq M. Deradicalisation and Disengagement from Terrorism and Threat to Identity: An Analysis of Former Jihadist Prisoners’ Accounts. Psychology and Developing Societies, 2019.Vol. 31, pp. 227—251. DOI:10.1177/0971333619863169
  28. Tajfel H., Turner J. C. An integrative theory of intergroup conflict. In: W. G. Austin, S. Worchel (eds.). The social psychology of intergroup relations. Monterey, CA: Brooks/Cole, 1979, pp.33-47.
  29. Woo D. J., Giles H., Hogg M. A., Goldman L. A social psychology of gangs: An intergroup communication perspective. In: S. H. Decker, D. C. Pyrooz (eds.). Handbook of gangs. New York: Wiley-Blackwell, 2015, pp.136-156.

Information About the Authors

Boris G. Bovin, PhD in Psychology, Docent, Leading Researcher, Federal State Institution Research Institute of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia, Moscow, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9255-7372, e-mail: bovinbg@yandex.ru

Inna B. Bovina, Doctor of Psychology, Research Director, Associate Professor, Department of Clinical and Legal Psychology, Moscow State University of Psychology & Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9497-6199, e-mail: innabovina@yandex.ru

Anastasia D. Tikhonova, MA in Psychology, graduate student, Faculty of Legal and Forensic Psychology, Moscow, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0030-2119, e-mail: GutnikAD@bez.mos.ru



Total: 1909
Previous month: 368
Current month: 851


Total: 174
Previous month: 6
Current month: 1