Recent scholarship has called for additional research into the role of charismatic authority in terrorist groups and the process of radicalization. However, the sociological concepts of charisma and charismatic authority are being widely misused in terrorism studies. Current radicalization research often indirectly flirts with core concepts of charismatic authority, but fails to properly tap into its analytical utility. This article proposes to begin addressing this gap in knowledge in three ways, with: (1) a synthesis of social scientific research on charismatic authority, (2) a critical analysis of how charismatic authority is being misused and overlooked in the terrorist radicalization literature, and (3) an exploration of challenges and opportunities for future research concerning charismatic authority and terrorist radicalization.
The Neglected Role of Charismatic Authority in the Study of Terrorist Groups and Radicalization
23 September 2014
Poverty and “Economic Deprivation Theory”: Street Children, Qur’anic Schools/almajirai and the Dispossessed as a Source of Recruitment for Boko Haram and other Religious, Political and Criminal Groups in Northern Nigeria
Hit the core or weaken the periphery? Comparing strategies to break the circle of violence with an embryonic terrorist group: The case of Galician Resistance
Increasing self-esteem and empathy to prevent violent radicalization: a longitudinal quantitative evaluation of a resilience training focused on adolescents with a dual identity
Terrorism, the Internet and the Social Media Advantage: Exploring how terrorist organizations exploit aspects of the internet, social media and how these same platforms could be used to counter-violent extremism