Since 2001, a preponderance of terrorist activity in Europe, North America, and Australia, has involved radicalized Westerners inspired by al Qaeda. Described as 'homegrown terrorism', perpetrators are citizens and residents born, raised, and educated within the countries they attack. While most scholars and policy-makers agree that radicalization plays a central role in persuading Westerners to embrace terrorism, little research properly investigates the internal and cognitive processes inherent to radicalization. Transformative learning theory, developed from the sciences in education, health, and rehabilitation, provides an unconventional and interdisciplinary way to understand the radicalization process. The theory suggests that sustained behavioural change can occur when critical reflection and the development of novel personal belief systems are provoked by specific triggering factors. In applying transformative learning theory to homegrown terrorism, this study helps explain how formerly non-violent individuals come to condone, legitimize, and participate in violent behaviour.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Homegrown terrorism, Radicalization, Transformative learning theory
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1080/14781150903487956
Journal Global Change, Peace and Security
Citation
Wilner, A. S, & Dubouloz, C.-J. (Claire-Jehanne). (2010). Homegrown terrorism and transformative learning: An interdisciplinary approach to understanding radicalization. Global Change, Peace and Security, 22(1), 33–51. doi:10.1080/14781150903487956