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The Culture of Violent Talk: An Interpretive Approach

NCJ Number
Date Published
16 pages

To better understand the culture of violent talk, we investigate how white supremacist extremists use these discussions as a rhetorical device that provides them with a sense of doing and an opportunity to express their frustrations and anger.


One of the defining characteristics of extremist movements is the adherence to an ideology highly antagonistic to the status quo and one that permits or explicitly promotes the use of violence to achieve stated goals and to address grievances. For members of extremist groups, talk is one of the most concrete manifestations of how adherents communicate their ideas to each other and the general public. These discussions, however, do not necessarily involve a direct correspondence between words and future behavior. Our analysis is grounded primarily in the ethnographic data we collected on a variety of US white supremacists since 1997. Our investigation offers important insight regarding the interactional qualities of extremist culture as well as policy implications regarding the assessment process. (Publisher Abstract)


Date Published: January 1, 2020