“Between the self and the other”: clinical presentation of male supremacy in violent extremists

Frounfelker, R. L., Johnson-Lafleur, J., Grenier, C. M., Duriesmith, D., Rousseau, C. (2023, mars)

Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression

This paper examines the relationship between gender and violent extremism (VE) among individuals engaged in VE clinical services in Montreal, Quebec (Canada). We use mixed methods to understand the experiences and characteristics of individuals who express support for male supremacist ideologies. Study participants include 86 patients enrolled in VE clinical services and 7 clinical practitioners providing services. We conduct a retrospective chart review to identify clinical and sociodemographic characteristics of male supremacists. A focus group was conducted with members of the clinical team. Integrating quantitative and qualitative findings provides an opportunity to draw meta-inferences on male supremacist violent extremists, including a typology of the phenomena as well as clinical characteristics and social dynamics. Clinicians articulated that many of the harmful attitudes and beliefs of male supremacists were not marginal, but rather reflected in everyday forms of misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia that were activated by their personal experiences. Our findings suggest the importance of clinicians remaining attentive to the underlying gendered grievances which shape a range of extremist beliefs. Finally, we explore the value of training practitioners who work on VE on diverse domains of gendered violence which may intersect with VE participation.