Emotions, Ideologies, and Violent Political Mobilization

Andrea Ruggeri and Stefano Costalli have recently published a journal article entitled 'Emotions, Ideologies, and Violent Political Mobilization'.


Do emotions and ideologies matter for violent political mobilization?

The advent of radical Islamist groups, the birth of ISIS, and several violent events in the last 15 years shows that ideologies and emotions are strictly associated with political violence. However, do these intangible factors have concrete roles in the process of armed mobilization and in the management of armed groups? Or are they simply epiphenomena? Most contemporary social science literature on armed mobilization, civil wars, and terrorism neglects the role of emotions and ideologies, developing behavioral models that mostly focus on material factors. Journalists and policy makers tend to assume that emotions, ideologies, and political violence are somehow intertwined, but rigorous scholarly work on this very topic is still underdeveloped. This symposium aims to go beyond structural and material explanations of conflict and mobilization.

The following contributions focus on the agents of violence and provide diverse angles on the relations between emotions, ideologies, and political violence. We argue that including emotions and ideologies in our theoretical frameworks will allow us to unpack the decision-making process that leads individuals from accepting the status quo to mobilizing and opting for political violence. It will also help us understand the behavior of armed actors once individuals have been mobilised.

Stefano Costalli (Universita di Firenze) and Andrea Ruggeri (University of Oxford)