Chair: Dirk Baier

Political extremism among youths: measurement and correlates

Building: G
Room: 22


Author: Manzoni Patrik, Zurich University of Applied Sciences ZHAW

Dirk Baier, ZHAW; Sandrine Haymoz, HETS-FR; Anna Isenhardt, ZHAW; Maria Kamenowski, ZHAW
Title: A Comparative Test of Correlates of Right-Wing, Left-Wing and Islamist Extremist Attitudes
Political extremism is of growing concern across many European countries and beyond. In this panel the focus is on youths holding extremist attitudes and behaviours (offences) of three forms: right-wing, left-wing and Islamistic extremism. Different contributions based on a large study on political extremism among youths in Switzerland are presented. This study assessed extremist attitudes and behaviours of right-wing, left-wing and Islamist extremism among more than 8000 juveniles (about 17 years old) from Cantons of all language regions by means of a standardised online questionnaire administered in school classes. This contribution first presents tests of the reliability and validity of the scales measuring the three forms of extremisms. New scales have been developed especially for the measurement of left-wing and Islamist extremism among youths. On the other hand, selected correlates will be tested in comparative view by multivariate models to explain the three different extremist attitudes. These include “classical” predictors such as personality characteristics, school and family socialisation characteristics, socio-economic status, peer-group and media use. Strategies for targeted prevention will be discussed.
Keywords: Political extremism, youth, correlates, meaurement
Author: Kamenowski Maria, Zurich University of Applied Sciences ZHAW

Dirk Baier, ZHAW; Sandrine Haymoz, HETS-FR; Anna Isenhardt, ZHAW; Patrik Manzoni, ZHAW
Title: Religiosity and Extremism – Which Role Plays Religiosity in Turning to Extremism?
Criminological research mostly regards religiosity as a protective factor for violent behaviour or crime. In terms of extremist violence this is often discussed differently, especially when it comes to radical Islamic extremism. The development of world religions has always been closely connected to violence. One reason for this often lies in the fact that each religion claims absoluteness. For the different religious groups there is the risk of devaluing others, to be intolerant of the society’s diversity or to enforce their attitudes by using violence. Religious intolerance or the overemphasis of one's own religion thus seems to be associated with extreme attitudes and violence. Adolescents are considered to be particularly receptive as far as social and thus extremist interpretations are concerned. Especially for disadvantaged or deprived adolescents, turning to a religious community can compensate social exclusion and provides a sense of belonging somewhere. However, for example many younger radical Islamists, show an inexperienced religious background. Thus, especially in consideration of radical Islamist extremism, the question arises, which role religious elements play in this form of extremism. This paper focuses on the relationship between religiosity and extreme attitudes and behaviour in order to test whether religiosity is adequate as a possible explanatory approach for young people turning to extremism.
Keywords: political extremism, youth, correlates, measurement, comparison
Author: Isenhardt Anna, Zurich University of Applied Sciences ZHAW

Dirk Baier, ZHAW; Sandrine Haymoz, HETS-FR; Maria Kamenowski, ZHAW; Patrik Manzoni, ZHAW
Title: The Role of Identity Diffusion for Political Extremist Attitudes in Swiss Youth
Based on the “Political Extremism Among Youth” study, this paper explores the role of identity diffusion for the emergence of political extremist attitudes (right-wing, left-wing and Islamist). Identity development is part of the psychosocial development and takes place in adolescence. The adolescents have to find their place in the world and build their own identity. In comparison to adulthood the own identity is less stable in adolescence, which makes, among other factors, especially young people more receptive to extremist ideologies. These ideologies often offer simple and clear answers to fundamental questions of life and thereby offer an answer to potential identity diffusions. Therefore, identity diffusion is hypothesized to be directly connected to extremist attitudes. However, the development of identity diffusion depends on adolescents’ social background factors such as social integration, discrimination experiences, political attitudes and extremist attitudes of the social environment. Hence it will also be tested if identity diffusion functions as a mediator in the relationship between these background variables and political extremist attitudes.
Keywords: political extremism, youth, correlates, measurement, comparison
Author: Haymoz Sandrine, University of Applied Sciences Fribourg HETS-FR

Dirk Baier, ZHAW; Anna Isenhardt, ZHAW; Maria Kamenowski, ZHAW; Patrik Manzoni, ZHAW
Title: Gangs and Political Extremism
In seeking the mechanism by which religion creates divisions and hatred, you will find fairly constant contempt. The contempt is agitated against those who do not profess the same faith. This despite all religions teach respect for life, for the family and to profess love.
Keywords: political extremism, youth, correlates, measurement, comparison
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