[ExI] Kelly Keglovits “Elements of Extremism” & Berger “Extremist Construction of Identity”

SR Ballard sen.otaku at gmail.com
Tue Jul 20 23:33:53 UTC 2021

Kelly Keglovits, “Elements of extremism: Does One Size Fit All? The rhetoric within Extremist Construction of Identity” (Thesis)


“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.”

Her writing is terrible, but the idea is sound. It explores the universality of this work work by Berger for counter-terrorism at the Hague, “ Extremist Construction of Identity:
How Escalating Demands for Legitimacy Shape and Define In- Group and Out-Group Dynamics”


“ This Research Paper examines how the white supremacist movement Christian Identity emerged from a non-extremist forerunner known as British Israelism. By examining ideological shifts over the course of nearly a century, the paper seeks to identify key pivot points in the movement’s shift toward extremism and explain the process through which extremist ideologues construct and define in-group and out-group identities. Based on these findings, the paper proposes a new framework for analysing and understanding the behaviour and emergence of extremist groups. The proposed framework can be leveraged to design strategic counter- terrorism communications programmes using a linkage-based approach that deconstructs the process of extremist in-group and out-group definition.”

The basic idea is the as groups make increasingly bold claims, they need more to back them up, and when they have more, they make bolder claims. Eventually, their need for “back up” is so strong that they begin to bring in conspiracy theories and folklore. 

As they progress towards more extreme ideologies, they stop encouraging thought or providing real evidence, instead making bold assertions as if they are fact and training followers to accept them. The ingroup/outgroup gets so strong that helping one is seen as harming the other, and vice versa. Finally, they reach “apocalypse now”. 

Thought y’all might find it interesting. 

SR Ballard
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