Contested Narratives of Extremism


This study explores extremism within the veteran community by investigating its definitions, assessments, and effects. The purpose is two-fold: identifying disparities in defining and assessing extremism among veterans and conducting a survey with one thousand veterans to understand their perceptions of extremism in society, including academia, media, and institutions. Interviews were also conducted regarding the necessity of violence against the US government. Existing definitions of extremism are contested and lack clarity, leading to biased evaluations. Different organizations define extremism broadly, including behavior and attitudes, which could distort prevalence data. The study criticizes methodologies used to classify extremism, asserting that researchers' biases affect findings. The survey reveals veterans' perspectives, highlighting the relative nature of extremism and its implications for pluralistic democratic societies.


Lisa Nelson
CAH-Co Director, Associate Professor
University of Pittsburgh