The Fundamentalist Mindset: Psychological Perspectives on Religion, Violence, and History

ISBN : 9780195379662

Charles B. Strozier; David M. Terman; James W. Jones; Katherine A. Boyd
296 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
May 2010
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This penetrating book sheds light on the psychology of fundamentalism, with a particular focus on those who become extremists and fanatics. What accounts for the violence that emerges among some fundamentalist groups? The contributors to this book identify several factors: a radical dualism, in which all aspects of life are bluntly categorized as either good or evil; a destructive inclination to interpret authoritative texts, laws, and teachings in the most literal of terms; an extreme and totalized conversion experience; paranoid thinking; and an apocalyptic world view. After examining each of these concepts in detail, and showing the ways in which they lead to violence among widely disparate groups, these engrossing essays explore such areas as fundamentalism in the American experience and among jihadists, and they illuminate aspects of the same psychology that contributed to such historical crises as the French Revolution, the Nazi movement, and post-Partition Hindu religious practice.

About the author: 

Charles B. Strozier is Professor of History and Criminal Justice at the City University of New York, John Jay College, and a practicing psychoanalyst. David M. Terman is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst and Director of the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis. James W. Jones is Professor of Religion and adjunct Professor of Clinical Psychology at Rutgers University. Katharine A. Boyd is a doctoral student at John Jay College, City University of New York.

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