Scholarly Journal Article Review
For this Assignment you will explore the empirically-based scholarly journal article found under Unit 2 Web Resources below. You will need to carefully examine the article to see what and how criminological theories are being explored using both qualitative and quantitative methods. In 2–4 pages, respond to the following questions:
- Identify what criminological theories are being examined.
- Discuss what type of behavior(s) is being explored.
- Discuss what qualitative and quantitative research methods are being used.
- Discuss at least two (2) major findings from this study.
Please use at least 2–3 credible sources for this assignment. Discuss how you evaluated the credibility of the resources used. You must properly cite the sources used in your answers in APA style and provide a reference list at the end of the assignment.
Microsoft Word - Developmental Predictors of Violent Extremist Attitudes _preprint.docx 1 Developmental Predictors of Violent Extremist Attitudes – A test of General Strain Theory* Amy Nivette Griffith University Manuel Eisner University of Cambridge Denis Ribeaud ETH Zurich 2 ABSTRACT Objectives: This study examines the influence of collective strain on support for violent extremism among an ethnically and religiously mixed sample of Swiss adolescents. This study explores two claims derived from General Strain Theory: (1) exposure to collective strain is associated with higher support for violent extremism and (2) the effect of collective strain is conditional on perceptions of moral and legal constraints. Methods: This study examines the effects of collective strain using data from two waves of the Zurich Project on the Social Development of Children and Youth. This study uses ordinary least squares procedures to regress violent extremist attitudes at age 17 on strain, moral and legal constraints, and control variables measured at ages 15-17. Conditional effects were examined using an interaction term for collective strain and moral disengagement and legal cynicism, respectively. Results: The results show that vicarious collective strain does not have a direct effect on violent extremist attitudes once other variables are controlled. However, the degree to which individuals neutralize moral and legal constraints amplifies the impact of collective strain on violent extremist attitudes. Conclusions: This study shows that those who already espouse justifications for violence and rule-breaking are more vulnerable to extremist violent pathways, particularly when exposed to conditions of collective social and economic strife, conflict, and repression. 3 Research on violent extremism has produced a wide array of risk factors in psychological, social, and political domains (Bhui, Warfa, and Jones 2014; Borum 2011a, 2011b; Dalgaard-Nielsen 2010; Gill, Horgan, and Deckert 2014; LaFree and Ackerman 2009; McGilloway, Ghosh, and Bhui 2015). These include psychological characteristics (e.g. low self-control), social context features (e.g. alienation) and political processes (e.g. exclusion from politics). LaFree and Ackerman (2009) argue that part of the difficulty in synthesizing information on extremist violence is due to the breadth of attitudinal, behavioral, and group-based outcomes examined under one conceptual umbrella. In addition, studies differ in their analytical approach, including for instance analyses of risk factors using survey samples and individual interviews (Doosje, Loseman, and van den Bos 2013; Goli and Rezaei 2010; Pauwels and De Waele 2014), or retrospective life history analyses of known terrorists (Gill et al. 2014). As a result of this diversity in theoretical domains, outcomes, and analytical approaches, empirical findings on the causes and correlates of violent extremist beliefs and behaviors are understandably mixed. In light of this, Freilich and LaFree (2015) call for a better integration of terrorism and extremism research into broader criminological theory and analysis (see also Agnew 2010; Schils and Pauwels 2014). Following this call the present paper examines the interplay between two potentially fruitful theoretical approaches to violent extremism, namely strain theories and neutralization theories. Strain theories such as Agnew’s General Strain Theory predict that support for violent extremism is more likely when collective strain is experienced, such as perceived discrimination against a group one identifies with, feelings of injustice, or vicarious or direct trauma from war and civil strife (Agnew 2010; Bhui et al. 2014; Dalgaard-Nielsen 2010; Hagan, Merkens, and Boehnke 1995; LaFree and Ackerman 2009; Pauwels and De Waele 2014; Weine et al. 2009). Neutralization theories predict that support for violent extremism is higher when actors morally disengage from ethical standards that prohibit violence or when they legally disengage from the obligation to comply with the law (Bandura 1986; Ribeaud and Eisner 2010; Nivette et al. 2015; Rattner and Yagil 2004). These theories are not mutually exclusive. Rather, collective strain as a structural feature and neutralization as a psychological process may mutually reinforce each other (Mazerolle and Maahs 2000). This paper therefore examines a core prediction of strain theory, namely that support for 4 violent extremism should be particularly high when experiences of collective strain are coupled with psychological mechanisms of moral and legal neutralization. We investigate these hypotheses with data from the Zurich Project on the Social Development of Children and Youth (z-proso). This is a cohort study of an ethnically and religiously mixed sample of adolescents in Zurich, Switzerland, where support for violent extremism was measured at age 17. A large proportion of study participants’ parents immigrated from fragile and conflict-torn societies, making the sample particularly relevant for examining the stipulated mechanisms. Also, it is one of very few studies worldwide that can prospectively examine the developmental mechanisms associated with the formation of violent extremist attitudes during late adolescence Violent extremist attitudes are defined here as beliefs and attitudes that condone the use of violence to achieve collective goals on behalf of a national, ethnic, political or religious group. This is close the definition used, for example, by the International Association of Chiefs of Police [IACP], which defines violent extremists as “those who encourage, endorse, condone, justify, or support the commission of a violent criminal act to achieve political, ideological, religious, social, or economic goals” (IACP 2014). We note that the relationship between extremist beliefs and actual terrorist activities is poorly understood. A number of conceptualizations of the extremist value-acquisition process portray the pathways to violent extremist behaviors in a stepwise fashion (see Borum’s [2011a] review). In these models, pro-extremist attitudes are typically acquired in the “early” stages among a wider sample of the population, whereas engaging in extremist acts occurs among a much smaller proportion of those with favorable attitudes at a “later” stage (McCauley and Moskalenko 2008). However, the relationship is complex as some violent extremists and terrorists have been found to have limited “radical beliefs” (e.g. Simi, Sporer, and Bubolz 2016), and actors with high levels of support for violent political strategies may never engage in violence themselves (Wikström and Bouhana in press). Therefore it is likely that the development of beliefs and attitudes that justify violent political action and involvement in terrorist activities are partly influenced by different mechanisms. In this paper we focus exclusively on risk factors for individual differences in extremist, violence-condoning attitudes. 5 THEORETICAL BACKGROUND General Strain Theory Generally, strain theories explain criminal attitudes and behaviors as manifestations of negative coping in response to adverse events, conditions, or treatment (Agnew 1992, 2006; Merton 1938). Agnew’s (1992) revised General Strain Theory [GST] aimed to improve upon earlier versions of strain theory by expanding the types of negative relationships that produce strain, explicating the social-psychological mechanisms that underlie the relationship between strain and crime, and examining the conditions under which effects of strain may be buffered or amplified (Agnew et al. 2002). Agnew (1992) outlined three types of strain resulting from negative relationships with others. First, strain can result when individuals are prevented from achieving their goals, which includes relationships or interactions that are perceived as unjust or inequitable (Agnew 1992). The second type arises when positively valued stimuli are removed, such as the loss of a parent, romantic partner, or employment. Third, strain can result from noxious stimuli such as victimization, child abuse, and negative experiences with parents, peers, police, and employers (Agnew 1992; Kalmakis and Chandler 2015). Exposure to these strains can produce negative emotions like anger and frustration, which demand corrective action (Agnew et al. 2002). According to GST, crime is a type of corrective action that seeks to injure, damage, or seek revenge on the presumed sources of the strain. General strain theory offers a theoretical framework to conceptualize the effects of strain on support for violent extremism. In particular, it outlines the types of strain that are most relevant for extremist violence, and conditional influences likely to amplify or buffer the effects of strain (Agnew 2010). Thus, Agnew (2010) criticizes the broad conceptualization of strain used in much terrorism and extremism research. Such approaches fail to account for the specific motivations for violent extremism as opposed to ordinary crime or deviance. Specifically, he argues that extremist violence is typically inflicted on behalf of a social, religious, or political group or ideology. In order to endorse violence on behalf of a group or ideology, one must experience collective strain (Agnew 2010; Piazza 2012). Types of collective strain likely to facilitate the adoption of violent 6 extremist beliefs are high in magnitude, considered highly unjust, and caused by more powerful political, social, or religious groups (Agnew 2010: 136). Prior studies have highlighted a range of strains as potential sources of extremist beliefs and behaviors, including adverse childhood experiences (Simi et al. 2016), discrimination and feelings of injustice (Goli and Rezaei 2010; Pauwels and De Waele; Pauwels and Schils 2016; Piazza 2012), vicarious or direct trauma from war (Bhui et al. 2014; Weine et al. 2009), and relative deprivation (Freilich et al. 2015). More specifically, one key source of collective strain that is often high in magnitude, considered unjust, and inflicted by powerful “others” is exposure to political violence, such as conflict, terrorism, and war (Canetti et al. 2013; Gill et al. 2014; Hirsch-Hoefler et al. 2014; Muldoon 2013; Pedersen 2002; Simi et al. 2016). Prolonged exposure to political violence can act as a stressor that leads to anger, anxiety, and depression (Garbarino and Kostelny 1996). Studies examining the effect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on support for extremism find that both direct and indirect exposure to conflict increases negative emotions and feelings that an individual or group is under threat from the “other” or out-group (Heath et al. 2013; Hirsch-Hoefler et al. 2014; Hobfoll et al. 2009; Huesmann et al., in press). Hirsch-Hoefler et al. (2014) found that Israelis and Palestinians exposed to political violence were more likely to report psychological distress, perceive group threat, and less likely to support peaceful means of political conflict resolution. Exposure to collective strain need not be direct in order to induce negative emotions and corrective action (Agnew 2002; Comer et al. 2007). Agnew (2002: 609) argues that vicarious strains can cause distress, increasing the likelihood that individuals will seek to “prevent further harm to those they care about, to seek revenge