Right-wing extremism and its determinants: a theoretically integrative approach


Many studies, in their examinations and explanations of the causes of violent extremism, can be found to be lacking in an integration of the factors of individual differences in the causes of political or religious violence. Also most studies on the topic do not emphasize the role of causal processes in these phenomena. The present study tries to overcome this lacking. Hence, its purpose is to test Wikström’s ‘Situational Action Theory’ (SAT). More specifically in relation to ‘self-reported’ ‘right-wing political violence’ (n = 723). To that effect this study examines the role of ‘perceived grievances’ and ‘us-versus-them’ attitudes to explain the causes of right-wing political violence. Key ‘strain-related’ variables are grouped under those two overarching concepts and are then integrated in the social model of SAT as ‘causes of the causes’, in this case then of right-wing political violence. The results of this analysis support the main hypothesis tested by this article: the secondary effects generated by the causes of the causes of (self-reported) right-wing political violence also manifest themselves in broader moral support for right-wing extremism, causing in their turn probabilistically more future violence, yet also in more self-control abilities, limiting or controlling the generation of more future violence. The limitations of this study are discussed in relation to suggestions for future scientific studies on the topic. Finally, policy recommendations are suggested.


Strains, 'Us-versus-them' propensity, Exposure, Morality, Self-control ability, Political Violence, Situational Action Theory







Robin Khalfa (Universiteit Gent)



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