U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Identity and Framing Theory, Precursor Activities, and the Radicalization Process

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2012, $423,939)

The goals of the study are threefold: (1) empirical evaluation of "identity" and "framing" theories relevant to understanding radicalization to violence; (2) empirical examination and elaboration of radicalization processes as they apply to the mobilization of individuals for engagement in violent direct action. In particular, the project will focus on how components of identity and framing theories are evidenced in the precursor conduct of terrorists; and (3) the development of a more integrated theorized understanding of radicalization to violence. The project will pursue these three objectives by drawing on and evaluating aspects of identity theory and framing theory as used in the study of social movements.

This project builds on data primarily collected in four previous NIJ projects and supplemented by funding from the DHS/START Center. Data to be analyzed include "officially designated" federal terrorism cases from 1980-2012 collected as part of the American Terrorism Study (ATS) and now maintained in an Oracle relational database that includes over 400 variables on nearly 900 defendants charged with approximately 11,000 federal criminal counts. Additional data on new cases will be collected as part of the proposed project.

The significance of this project is three-fold. First, it will help articulate the impact of "conversion" and "demonstration events" in relationship to precursor crimes committed by terrorist groups. Second, it will assist law enforcement, intelligence and fusion centers, and prosecutorial agencies in determining optimal timeframes for early intervention. Finally, the database will accommodate a wide array of statistical and geospatial methodologies for scholars and analysts nationwide who are interested in examining these data from other perspectives.ca/ncf

Date Created: September 26, 2012