Alimi, Eitan Y. “The Relational Context of Radicalization: The Case of Jewish Settler Contention before and after the Gaza Pullout.” Political Studies (early view; online first).
Why is it that social movements engaged in contention sometimes experience radicalization of member factions? This article argues that relational practices of contacts, ties, exchange of information and bargaining among the contending parties mediate the influence of violence-prone ideologies as well as impulses, incentives and motives for aggression on actual engagement in political violence. A mechanism-based comparison of two similar yet different-in-outcome episodes of Jewish settler contention demonstrates the mediating role of relational mechanisms, the combined influence of which is conceptualized and operationalized as an Infrastructure of Coordination (IOC). Despite ample environmental stimuli and widespread violence-prone ideologies present in both episodes, in the Gaza Pullout radicalization was impeded through high levels of coordination established between and within the contending parties. Conversely, in the dismantling of the Amona outpost the disintegration of the IOC propelled radicalization. Supportive evidence is provided from a multi-method research design, including in-depth interviews, content analysis and contention—repression data over a series of critical events.