Neil Ferguson (D.Phil., Ulster, 1998) is Professor of Political Psychology at Liverpool Hope University. He has been the Director of the Desmond Tutu Centre for War and Peace Studies, a visiting lecturer to Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania and the University of York, a Research Fellow at University of St Andrews, and previously lectured at the University of Ulster. His research and writings deal with moral development and a number of topics located within political psychology. Professor Ferguson is currently serving on the Governing Council of the International Society of Political Psychology, as the President of the MOSAIC – Moral and Social Action Interdisciplinary Colloquium and is a trustee of the Journal of Moral Education Trust. Eve Binks, (PhD, Liverpool, 2007) is a Senior Lecturer at Liverpool Hope University. Her research is focused on social psychology and the psychology of religion.
Psychology, Radicalization, Terrorism / counterterrorism
Although research into the processes and outcomes of radicalization has yielded significant discoveries regarding antecedent risk factors and the role played by societal circumstances and individual variables, research regarding the process of radical conversion remains in its infancy. We believe that the psychology of religion may hold the key to unlocking new insights into this conversion process. As a result of assessing both Lofland and Skonovd’s religious conversion motifs and Rambo’s integrative model of religious conversion, we suggest that issues of culture, society and the individual which are prevalent in first-hand accounts of conversion to terrorism provide crucial insight into the application of theories of religious conversion to the process of radicalization, and that this application is ripe for helping to further develop existing pyramid and staircase models of radicalization.
Ferguson, Neil and Binks, Eve. “Understanding Radicalization and Engagement in Terrorism through Religious Conversion Motifs.” Journal of Strategic Security 8, no. 1 (2015): 16-26.
Available at: http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/jss/vol8/iss1/2