Extremism: What is it and How Does it Relate to Violence?


Societies across the globe are threatened by rising extremisms of various types, but what is extremism and how does it relate to violence? Much of the treatment of the subject has defaulted to the tautology that extremism is “the quality or state of being extreme.” In his new book Extremism, J.M. Berger, provides a nuanced introduction to extremist movements, finding common structural elements that moves the understanding of extremism whether jihadist, alt-right, or something else beyond the tautologies that have dominated discussion.

New America welcomes J.M. Berger, author of Extremism as well as Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam and ISIS: The State of Terror (co-authored with Jessica Stern), a research fellow with VOX-Pol, and a fellow with the Counter-Terrorism Strategic Communications Project to discuss his new book. New America also welcomes Mary Beth Altier, a Clinical Assistant Professor at NYU’s Center for Global Affairs. Dr, Altier received her Ph.D. in Politics from Princeton University in 2011. Her research centers on the reasons why individuals support the use of political violence in developed and developing democracies.

Copies of Extremism will be available for purchase.

Join the conversation online using #ExtremismNA and following @NewAmericaISP.


J.M. Berger, @intelwire
Author, Extremism Research Fellow, VOX-Pol

Mary Beth Altier, @marybethaltier
Clinical Assistant Professor, New York University


Melissa Salyk-Virk
Policy Analyst, New America International Security Program