On 14 September 2022 Lorne Dawson (Professor in the Department of Religious Studies and the Department of Sociology and Legal Studies at University of Waterloo), Sophia Moskalenko (Program Specialist at the United Nations’ Office of Counter Terrorism), and John Horgan (Professor in the Department of Psychology at Georgia State University) will discuss the rise, development and decline of various extremist movements. In particular, we will pay attention to the translation of existing knowledge on radicalization into practice.


Domplein 29
3512 JE Utrecht

About the Lecture

Amid various global crises and the decline in citizens’ trust in their respective governments, new extreme movements have emerged at both ends of the political spectrum. Some groups distrust the ruling power and seek to violently overthrow their rules and systems; other groups become increasingly isolated from society, fueled either by conspiracy theories and fake news, or focus their discontent on fellow citizens. As an effect, the threat they pose to democratic societies has become more diverse and multi-faceted. At the same time, these movements share a challenging characteristic: they have emerged from the mainstream of society, not the fringes. 

These developments confront government institutions, scientists, and practitioners with a new reality: What has caused these new threats to rise, and why now? And how can we adapt and apply existing knowledge on prior threats to the more diverse spectrum of today’s violent extremist movements? Or do we need to change our perspectives and courses of action?

We are delighted to invite you to the upcoming Security in Open Societies lecture: ‘Facing radicalization and extremism in times of societal unrest: New threats, old practices?’, on Wednesday 14 September 2022 from 14:45 until 18:00 at the Academiegebouw in Utrecht. 


14 September 2022
14:45 – 18:00pm


Organizing Committee

Amarins Jansma
Annelotte Janse
Beatrice de Graaf
Myrthe van Groningen
Lena Harding
Christa Wesselink


Lecture: “Involuntary Celibacy in an Age of Ideological Promiscuity: A Catalyst for Re-thinking Approaches to Terrorist Motivation” 

John Horgan is Distinguished University Professor at the Department of Psychology, at Georgia State University. His research focuses on terrorism and political violence -specifically on understanding psychological qualities of pathways into, through, and out of terrorism. He is Editor of the premier terrorism studies journal Terrorism and Political Violence, and serves on the Boards of such journals as Politics and the Life Sciences, Legal and Criminological Psychology, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Journal for Deradicalization and Journal of Strategic Security.

Lecture: “Evolution of radicalization through online communities” 

Sophia Moskalenko is a social psychologist studying mass identity, inter-group conflict and the appeal of conspiracy theories. Her research has focused on the psychology of radicalization and martyrdom. As a research fellow at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (NC-START) she has worked on projects commissioned by the Department of Defence, Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of State. Dr. Moskalenko currently works as Program Specialist at the United Nations’ Office of Counter Terrorism.

Lecture: “Coping with Complexity and Translating Knowledge: The Case of Lone Actor Terrorists and Public Mass Murderers” 

Dr. Dawson is a Full Professor in the Department of Religious Studies and the Department of Sociology and Legal Studies. He has served as the Chair of both departments. Until 2008 most of his research was in the sociology of religion, in particular the study of new religious movements. Since then, terrorism has become the primary focus of his research, in particular the process of radicalization leading to violence. In 2012, he co-founded the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society (TSAS).

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