Connections among communities: preventing radicalization and violent extremism through social network analysis in the Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA) framework
Woodhams, Katrina Marie
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The evolution of socially connected networks of influence has created new ideological dimensions that motivate an individual to radicalize and to commit acts of violent extremism and terrorism. This thesis explored the viability of using social network analysis (SNA) as a tool in the nation's Threat and Hazard Identification Risk Assessment (THIRA) framework to determine whether factors (such as relationships and motivations) can be used to reduce the vulnerability of a community at risk of radicalization and violent extremism and to build resilience. Using literature that described core SNA principles and related fields of study, a theoretical framework was developed to illustrate how extremist ideologies and motivations are socialized within a particular network. This theoretical framework is assessed through a multi-case study analysis, examining an individual's radicalization process and programs to counter violent extremism in Australia and Scotland. This analysis ultimately suggested that incorporating the SNA methodology could be beneficial if included in the THIRA process. This thesis illustrates how a community could be provided the opportunity to mitigate against the process of radicalization by developing and targeting core capabilities that may help them build social capital and trust and to increase efficiency and availability of information sharing and social support intended to improve individual and community resilience.
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