Social ties and lone wolves – Processes of radicalization in lone actor terrorists
During the last decade terrorist attacks by so-called lone wolf terrorist have occurred. The attacks by Anders Breivik in Norway and Arid Uka in Germany are just two examples of this growing phenomenon. Those perpetrators act alone and allegedly radicalize alone. Yet, radicalization research highlights the importance of social ties in radicalization and mobilization to terrorism. Therefore, one has to pose the question, how lone wolves radicalize, if social ties are highly relevant in radicalization, yet the main feature of lone wolves is supposedly their loneliness. To date little research has been conducted to address this puzzle systematically on a theoretical or empirical basis.
In her dissertation project, Annika von Berg addresses the question how social ties affect radicalization processes of lone actors. To answer this question, an identity-theory-based model will be used to examine these radicalization processes in single-case-studies via process-tracing. The case studies will investigate incidents in the field of right-wing extremism and Islamism extremism.