Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Austin C. Doctor


This thesis investigates how engagement with extremist communities on social media correlates with increased violent mobilization among radicalized individuals. It argues that as individuals strengthen their ties to extremist groups online, they increasingly identify with these communities and adopt behaviors endorsed by them. This paper explores various levels of online engagement, from passive interactions to more active involvement, as well as factors to mobilization exhibited as observable behaviors both in person and online. Comparative analysis of two violent and two nonviolent adherents of the Boogaloo ideology reveals ten unique mobilizing indicators in violent cases. When compared against the social media engagement behaviors, it was found that higher engagement behaviors like direct communication with extremists enabled top mobilizing indicators such as specific attack planning, lending support to the main hypothesis.


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