Processual or Static: ‘Radicalisation’ as Opposed to ‘Radicalism’

Some people, contrary to others – in whose case it will be possible to reach a level of re-socialization -, are radicalized to a degree that there is hardly any turning back. Their minds are rooted in malicious thought to, alas, hurt other citizens or residents of a given country.

Others are radicalized in a static way, similar to those mentioned before, but, notably, remain far from committing acts of violence and terrorism, or from promoting terrorism. People of both categories, albeit, are subject to ‘radicalism.’

An Important Distinction

It should be so that the term ‘radicalism’ is selected by academics in cases of static states, precursors of extremism, in which case ‘radicalism’ is opposed to the standard expression of ‘radicalization,’ most frequently used in counter-terrorist literature.

While radicalization denotes a process and can be broken down into stages, either progressively or regressively, ‘radicalism’ is a relatively invariant stage in which the aforementioned are trapped, with scarcely any way of re-becoming utterly peaceful or valued members of society.

Most Radicalized Can Likely Resocialize Substantially

In some countries, it is debated to hold those prone to the gravest of extremist ‘radicalism’ for prolonged periods of time, if not indefinitely, tough as that might appear, to keep them from causing harm to others.

In the case of most radicalized, however, neither will they engage in bad action themselves nor instigate others – but only after being re-socialized. They will at some point have reached the understanding that their past mode of thinking was evil, and will hopefully do their best to stay away from keeping company with extremists and to abstain from any action qualified as radical, and be spared from prison and harsh fines.

While this requires the involvement of society, it is, nonetheless, a rather encouraging perspective…

Thorsten Koch, MA, PgDip
13 June 2021

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