The Susceptibility Complex: An Ethnographic Analysis of Social, Economic, and Political Contributions to Radicalization Efforts

Open Access
Morris, Peyton
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Eric J Fleisch, Thesis Supervisor
  • Janina M Safran, Honors Advisor
  • terrorism
  • radicalization
  • national security
  • anthropology
  • ethnographic study
  • ethnography
Terrorism and radicalization studies have drawn the attention of experts, researchers, and government officials from around the world. One of the emerging fields into the realm of national security is Anthropology, which seeks to address these research concerns through raw, qualitative research of groups, societies, and individuals whom have exhibited a predisposition to or adoption of radical ideology. Of particular interest, is the individual and contextual factors that may increase an individual or a group’s susceptibility to radicalization efforts. One of the means by which anthropologists achieve this research agenda is through ethnographic study. In this work, seven ethnographic works are analyzed in detail to identify risk factors associated with the radicalization processes of individuals and groups of varying ethnic, religious, and contextual backgrounds. This work will argue that there are identifiable individual and contextual factors that increase one’s susceptibility to radicalization, such as experiences with trauma, marginalization, and social injustice, just to name a few. Analysis reveals, however, that the individual and contextual factors that increase one’s susceptibility to radicalization efforts varies by the level of analysis in which they are studied. This paper argues that a multi-layer, analytical approach is necessary for future radicalization studies.