Online radicalization and self-radicalization are still under-examined areas within the range of phenomena leading to ideological and violent extremism.
This article will explore the main reasons explaining the close link between online platforms and radicalization practices and deradicalization interventions related to Islamist-driven ideologies.
Radicalization trajectories depend on several intersecting routes: individual predispositions and contextual dispositions; psychological motivations and material matters; identity claims and political reasons. In this sense, the narrative construction of experiences, especially for young second-generation subjects, is crucial in understanding the self-positionings of radical individuals and reconstructing the display of individual experiences. Platforms, and media more generally, are thus configured as a space for the construction of social reality.
Digital media have proven to be particularly effective in the disintermediation of political participation practices. As far as radicalization is concerned, they prove to be relevant for instrumental purposes and communicative uses, affecting the organization and socialization to radical phenomena while favoring the public representation of such phenomena and enhance the diffusion of propaganda. Although the greatest weight of the dynamics of radicalization is to be found in offline political and social processes, some technicalities of the platforms interfere with the dynamics of polarization.
In recent years, several initiatives have emerged aimed to limit the impact of platforms on radicalization: these initiatives involve public, private and autonomous actors’ organizations. Countering online radicalization must use flexible strategies, counter-narratives, and media literacy.
Keywords: ; Radicalization; deradicalization; online platforms; polarization; prevention