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Recent Award

Doctoral Dissertation Research: Reducing Religious Extremism Via Elite Persuasion

This project addresses three questions regarding persuasion and religious extremism among marginalized young adult men. It seeks to determine whether efforts on the part of influential group members can effectively persuade others to mitigate extremist attitudes and behavior. It studies this question in two important communities: among members of a majority religious group, as well among a minority religious group that perceives itself as victimized by the majority. Second, it asks whether persuasion efforts by in-group religious elites that emphasize theological norms for non-violence are more effective in reducing extremism than appeals based on material considerations. Third, the research asks whether persuasion efforts can succeed even in the face of counter arguments that discourage peace. This research will contribute to political science literature on a number of fronts. It speaks to issues related to persuasion, ethnic conflict, and radicalization studies. In particular, it explicitly links work on to the address research on violent extremism. Likewise, it directly tests crucial assumptions from the ethnic conflict literature about elite influence, and offers new insights on the relative effectiveness of religious norms in mitigating extremism, whereas previous studies tended to focus on material considerations. More broadly, the project will provide important insights into have important practical and theoretical insights into the causes of, and potential remedies for religious extremism.

Home Department: 


Saturday, July 1, 2017 to Saturday, June 30, 2018

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