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Right-Wing Extremist Radicalization Processes: The Formers’ Perspective

By Daniel Köhler.


This study is based on the in-depth analysis of nine narrative interviews with seven former high ranking German right-wing extremists. Giving an intensive overview about the related academic literature on right-wing radicalization processes the findings regarding the individual motivations for entry; belonging and exit are integrated therein, albeit focusing on the first two (entry and belonging). In addition an overarching theoretical radicalization process model in proposed to highlight the findings from the interview analysis.
The major finding is, that non-politicized ideals (e.g. justice, freedom) combined with a strong desire for expression are used by radical right-wing groups to attach these to a concrete political program and assignments (‘political struggle’) to foster a specific internalization of a political ideology and expected behaviour. This creates a closed motivational circle pushing the individuals to the maximum degree of radicalization possible in every individual case.

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