Elisa Orofino and William Allchorn (Eds.), Routledge Handbook of Non-Violent Extremism: Groups, Perspectives and New Debates (New York, NY: Routledge, 2023), 524pp., US$ 225.00 [Hardcover], ISBN: 978-0-3674-7008-1.
This conceptually innovative, comprehensive, and detailed Handbook provides one of the first coverages of what the editors term “non-violent extremism” across a wide spectrum political, religious, and socio-economic ideologies around the world. While acknowledging that extremism, even in its non-violent manifestation of “cognitive radicalization”, is generally viewed as a potential precursor and conveyer belt to engagement in the “behavioural radicalization” of terrorism, the volume’s editors argue that non-violent extremism needs to be considered as a stand-alone field in the discipline of extremism and radicalisation in all their manifestations.
To examine these issues, following the editors’ introductory overview, the Handbook is divided in four parts, consisting of 32 case studies, with each one focusing on different types of non-violent extremism. The first part focuses on what the editors term “vocal extremism” across multiple ideologies, including the misogynistic Incel movement (although one could argue that it is, in fact, a violent extremist movement, where some supporters have conducted violent attacks against their supposed adversaries). The second part focuses on non-violent religious extremists, such as Islamist, Buddhist, and Hindu movements. The third part deals with non-violent, right wing “vocal extremists” in countries such as the United Kingdom, Romania, Turkey, Greece, and the United States (although in US, right wing extremists also engage in violent activities). The final part examines what the editors’ term “post-modern extremisms” as manifested by non-violent left-wing, feminist, and environmental movements (although when environmental extremists damage a power plant, isn’t this a form of violent engagement?).