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The Operation and Structure of Right-Wing Extremist Groups

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)
Original Solicitation

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2006, $144,140)

The purpose of this exploratory study is to improve the threat assessment of extremist group violence. The P.I. will do this by posing a series of research questions related to the operation and structure of Right-Wing Extremist (RWE) groups in the United States. These questions are:
'What types of recruitment strategies do right-wing extremist groups utilize to gain new members?
'How are right-wing extremist groups organized?
'Are there individual and group-level characteristics that distinguish right-wing extremists who limit their support of terrorist activity to violent rhetoric from right-wing extremists who actually commit or plan to commit acts of terrorism?

The project will combine the threat assessment model designed by the U.S. Secret Service with threshold models of collective behavior in order to compare advocates of extremist violence with implementers of extremist violence. This comparison will shed light on the development of ideas and behaviors that eventually result in extremist violence.

The project has two principle objectives: 1) compare right-wing extremists who advocate terrorism but have not committed such acts with those who extend upon violent rhetoric and actually commit these acts; and 2) Identifying internal processes related to organizational planning and group roles including how RWE groups recruit new members. This analysis will rely on the PI existing data and the American Terrorism Study data focusing on individual, group, and situational-level characteristics. Between 1997 and 2005, the PI collected data that includes in-depth life history interviews and observations of 89 right-wing extremists. The interviews focus on how subjects were recruited and different characteristics related to group dynamics and participation.


Date Created: September 12, 2006