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A Test of Sprinzak's Split Delegitimization Theory of the Life Course of Far-Right Organizational Behavior


A Test of Sprinzak's Split Delegitimization Theory of the Life Course of Far-Right Organizational Behavior

Abstract: 

This article applies Sprinzak’s theory of split delegitimization to the American far-right. We examine a sample of 30 violent and 30 nonviolent far-right groups for each year of their existence, drawn from the Extremist Crime Database, and explore the violent and legal behavioral patterns over their lifecycle. Sprinzak hypothesized that far-right groups undergo a radicalization process through three stages, conflict of legitimacy, crisis of confidence, and crisis of legitimacy. He predicted that terrorism would occur at the peak of group radicalization or during the third stage. Results supported Sprinzak’s conceptualization of conflict of legitimacy and crisis of confidence stages. Groups initially selected nongovernment targets, but after experiencing disillusionment with the ruling regime, they equally attacked government and nongovernment targets. Importantly, prolonged and increasingly violent acts against government targets were not observed.

Publication Information

Full Citation: 

Kerodal, Ashmini G., and Joshua Freilich, Steven Chermak, Michael Suttmoeller. 2014. "A Test of Sprinzak's Split Delegitimization Theory of the Life Course of Far-Right Organizational Behavior." International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice (October): 1-23. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01924036.2014.973053#.VGDNh_lT5YE.

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