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.