A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism

Friction: How Radicalization Happens to Them and Us


This book identifies twelve mechanisms of political radicalization that can move individuals, groups, and the masses to increased sympathy and support for political violence. Terrorism is an extreme form of radicalization, and the book describes pathways to terrorism to demonstrate the twelve mechanisms at work. Written by two psychologists who are acknowledged radicalization experts and consultants to the Department of Homeland Security, Friction draws heavily on case histories. The case material is wide-ranging - drawn from Russia in the late 1800s, the US in the 1970s, and the radical Islam encouraged by the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1990s. Taken together, the twelve mechanisms show how unexceptional people are moved to exceptional violence in the conflict between states and non-state challengers.

Publication Information

Full Citation:

McCauley, C., & Moskalenko, S. (2011).  Friction: How radicalization happens to them and us.  New York: Oxford University Press.