Alt-right pipeline: Individual journeys to extremism online
The rise of the alt-right as a potent and sometimes violent political force has been well documented. Yet the journey of an individual towards upholding these ideologies is less well understood. Alt-righters are not instantly converted, but rather incrementally nudged along a particular medial pathway. Drawing on video testimonies, chat logs, and other studies, this paper explores the interaction between this alt-right “pipeline” and the psyche of a user. It suggests three overlapping cognitive phases that occur within this journey: normalization, acclimation, and dehumanization. Finally, the article examines the individual who has reached the end of this journey, an extremist who nevertheless remains largely unregistered within traditional terrorist classifications.
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