Control, Learning, and Vulnerability: An Interactional Approach to Engagement in Violent Extremism
Becker, Michael Henry
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In criminological research, scholars present learning and social control theories as competing explanations for criminal behavior. While this has extended to specific offenses and analogous behaviors, it has less frequently been related to ideologically-motivated extremist behavior. This study considers the explanatory power of these two schools of criminological thought as they predict individual participation in violent ideologically motivated extremist behaviors using a recently collected individual-level dataset. A combination of Multivariate Imputation through Chained Equations (MICE), Exploratory Factor Analysis, and logistic regression is used to examine the relationship between theoretical measures and the probability of violent extremist behavior. Ultimately, this thesis finds: (1) having stronger social bonds is associated with a lower probability of violent ideologically motivated behavior, (2) the social learning of violence is associated with a higher probability of violent ideologically motivated behavior, and (3) these relationships depend somewhat upon the ideological milieu of the individual.