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Pluralism and Polarization: Cultural Dynamics of Extremism and Radicalization
June 20 - June 22
McGil Advanced Study Institute
Pluralism and Polarization:
Cultural Dynamics of Extremism and Radicalization
Recent years have seen an increase in ideological extremism in many countries around the world. There is widespread concern about increasing levels of politically or religiously motivated violence. In some cases, this involves a deliberate process of radicalization and recruitment designed to attract youth to join ongoing conflicts or carry out destructive acts in their regions. In other cases, individuals who are socially marginalized or struggling with mental health problems are impelled toward violence by images and ideologies circulating through popular or social media. Efforts are underway in many countries to address the problem of radicalization to violence. Some have advocated for public health approaches to understanding and intervening to prevent radicalization, but medicalizing social and political problems carries its own risks. Others have focused on building relationships within communities to reach marginalized groups and individuals. The impact of anxieties about radicalization goes far beyond the response to specific conflicts. In Europe and North America, concerns with security have fuelled the rise of authoritarianism and the polarization of political debate on immigration and multiculturalism. This international conference and workshop will bring together scholars from cultural psychiatry, psychology, political science, sociology and anthropology to consider the role of psychopathology, social dynamics, and cultural contexts on political radicalization to violent extremism. Participants will address four broad themes: 1) current meanings and uses of the term radicalization; 2) social determinants, origins and dynamics of violent radicalization and extremism, including individual psychology, family dynamics, microsocial and macrosocial structural and historical forces associated with colonization, globalization and contemporary political, economic and security issues; 3) radicalization in social and cultural context, with cases studies from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas; and 4) community prevention and clinical intervention to reduce the risk of violent radicalization and promote pluralism and social integration. The format will be a two-day Workshop (June 20 & 21) for researchers working on these issue, followed by a public Conference (June 22) directed to mental health practitioners, educators and policy makers.
Neil Krishnan Aggarwal, Kamaldeep Bhui, Gilles Bibeau, Heidi Ellis, Ghayda Hassan, Sushrut Jadhav, Abdelwahed Mekki-Barada
Jaswant Guzder, Myriam Denov, G. Eric Jarvis, Laurence J. Kirmayer, Myrna Lashley, Ronald Niezen, Cécile Rousseau, Daniel Weinstock