Course Syllabus

Psychology of Violence and Hate

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Semester & Location:

Summer 2022, Session 2 - DIS Stockholm

Type & Credits:

Core Course - 3 credits

Study Tours: Berlin
Major Disciplines:

Psychology, Criminology / Criminal Justice, Psychology, Sociology


One psychology course at university level.

Faculty Members:

Susanna Z. Papp Ph.D.  (current students please use the Canvas Inbox)

Robert Örell (current students please use the Canvas Inbox)

Program Director:

Suman Ambwani

Academic Support:

Time & Place:   Classroom: 1D-508, See "Course Summary" below.


Course Description

This course focuses on understanding radicalization processes, including psychological perspectives on the role of motivation, ideology, identity, and risk factors. Characteristics and mechanisms of violent extremist groups are considered with specific focus on unique intervention and preventive methodologies developed in Sweden.
In the first half of the course we discuss theories and processes of radicalization, asking 
questions of why people join violent extremist movements and whether common causes can be identified for varied forms of violent extremism. In the second half of the course, we review theoretical frameworks of deradicalization and disengagement and we learn about various intervention programs. Case studies are discussed from violent right-wing and Islamic extremism contexts. The course offers students the unique possibility to benefit from frontline practitioners’ professional experiences inside and outside of classroom.


Learning Objectives

By the end of this course students will be …
• familiar with the key concepts and theories in the field of radicalization
• able to apply the theoretical concepts on cases
• knowledgeable on the variety of practices regarding intervention and prevention in the 
• able to critically evaluate theories and practices in the field of violent extremism




Robert Örell

Robert is a practitioner with two decades of professional experience with client work helping the re-integration of violent extremists. He held the position of director of Exit Sweden for over ten years and he was the director of Exit USA at Life After Hate between 2017 and 2020. Robert has held several positions in the European Commission’s Radicalization Awareness Network (RAN) since 2011. In recent years he has focused on capacity development, as well as designing and holding radicalization prevention trainings around the world.


Susanna Z. Papp, PhD.

Susanna is a psychologist, lecturer and trainer. She earned her PhD in psychology at Eötvös Lóránd University in Budapest, her research focused on analyzing conflicts and restorative justice practices from a social psychology perspective. Susanna has a decade of experience as a lecturer holding courses in psychology and communication and over a thousand hours experience holding skill-development trainings in communication and conflict-management. She is a member of the Radicalization Awareness Network's expert pool and has co-authored papers on terrorist recidivism and CSO-led exit programs published by RAN.


Textbook: Koomen, W., Van Der Pligt, J. (2016) The Psychology of Radicalisation and Terrorism. New York: Routledge. Chapters 1, 2, 3, 5

Selected articles and book chapters:

McCauley, C., Moskalenko, S. (2017). Understanding political radicalisation: The Two-Pyramids Model. American Psychologist, 72 (3) 205-21

Ryan, R.M. & Deci, E.L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55, 68-78.

Webber, D., Kruglanski, A. W. (2017) Psychological Factors in Radicalization: A "3N" Approach. In: LaFree, G., Freilich, J. D. (Eds.) The Handbook of Criminology of Terrorism. UK: John Wiley & Sons

Z. Papp, S., Örell, R. (2021). Returning to Extremism: An Overview on Terrorist Reoffending and Current Challenges. Radicalisation Awareness Network. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

Z. Papp., S., Örell, R., Meredith, K., Papatheodorou, K., Tadjbakhsh, S., Brecht, H. (2022). The role of civil society organisations in exit work. Radicalisation Awareness Network. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

Study tour related readings:

Blass, T. (2002). Perpetrator Behavior as Destructive Obedience: An Evaluation of Stanley Milgram’s Perspective, the Most Influential Social-Psychological Approach to the Holocaust. In: Newman, L.S., Erber, Ralph (Eds.): Understanding Genocide: The Social Psychology of the Holocaust. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 91-113

Steizinger, J. (2018). The Significance of Dehumanization: Nazi Ideology and Its Psychological Consequences. Politics, Religion & Ideology. p. 2-20.

Tindale, R.S., Munier, C., Wasserman, M., Smith, C.M. (2002). Group processes and the Holocaust. In: Newman, L.S., Erber, Ralph (Eds.): Understanding Genocide: The Social Psychology of the Holocaust. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 143-162


Optional readings: 

In the optional readings section (in canvas calendar) students are provided with relevant additional academic sources that are not required to be read for the given session. 

Selected readings are provided for each assignment (see assignment descriptions).


Field Studies

Students will participate in two field studies during their stay in Stockholm where the aim is to help them widen and deepen their knowledge outside of the classroom. During the field study visits we invite students to learn about methods, projects and approaches designed to prevent or respond to radicalization as well as to get familiar with existing research to better understand the nature of violent extremism. 

Please note that changes in the program may occur. 

Drama Pedagogy Workshop
This workshop is a method demonstration on how drama pedagogy can be used to work 
with vulnerable young populations to help the prevention of radicalization. Students are 
invited to participate in interactive activities which will be followed by a discussion of the method. 

Field Study in the Rynkeby neighborhood

Alma Adam, project coordinator and community engagement manager of the African-European Development Agency is going to introduce us to the neighborhood of Rynkeby and will share about her work representing the Somalian minority in Sweden.

Fryshushet Non-governmental Organization visit
Fryshushet is one of the largest youth center in Scandinavia. Our visit to the 
organization will focus on learning about the prevention and intervention programs, some of which are designed to young people vulnerable at radicalisation.


Study Tour: Berlin

Berlin #Deutschland #Museum | Walkable city, Berlin germany, City

The course includes a 5-day study trip to Berlin. Besides experiencing the vibes of one of 
Europe’s most diverse cities, the academic goals of the tour include learning about the historic lessons of the Holocaust and ways the country has faced its past. In addition, students will learn about contemporary challenges in Germany including the rise of violent right-wing and Islamic extremism as well as initiatives responding to these challenges. 


Guest Lecturers

Hans Brun is a security analyst who has expertise on topics such as violent extremism, counterterrorism, and antagonistic threats. He is a Ph.D. student at the Department of War at Kings College in London. He is frequently invited to comment on current developments and trends on security- and terrorism-related issues by various media outlets and state organisations. 

Christer Mattsson Ph.D. is a researcher, lecturer and the director of the Segerstedts Institute at the University of Gothenburg, a national resource center focusing on preventive work against violent ideologies and structures, antisemitism and racist organizations. He has authored several books on violent right-wing extremism and was part of developing and operating the Tolerance project for several years.

Ross Frenett is the founder of Moonshot CVE, a company devoted to countering violent extremism and hatred online. Mr. Frenett has a decade of experience working with counter-narrative and is co-chairing the EU RAN working group on Communications & Narratives. 


Approach to Teaching

The class will involve an interactive pedagogy with lectures, group discussions, case study 
analyses, as well as guest lectures and field studies. Students are encouraged to apply theory in practice as well as sharing their viewpoints in class. The course instructors together with the students aim to create a safe and engaging learning environment.

Expectations of the Students

In order to successfully complete the course students are required to attend all classes, field studies and study tour events. Active constructive participation is an important feature of the class, it includes active listening during lecture time, asking and answering questions, sharing knowledge and academic reflections during discussions or group-work in a respectful manner and being able to shift between these different work modes. Attendance encompasses arriving on time and prepared with the assigned reading and occasional homework. Students’ proactivity is appreciated. Students are encouraged to proactively and constructively communicate their course-related academic and personal needs in order to make the best of their experience. 


Evaluation and Grading

Course assignments are designed to help students deepen and integrate their knowledge of various sources (readings, visits, cases). 



Active class participation

20 %

Study tour group presentation

30 %

Study tour paper

20 %

Case study analysis group presentation

30 %


Participation in class (20 %)

The participation grade consists of the following elements:

  • Attendance: physical and mental presence at each class as well as during the academic 
    activities of the study tour. This includes coming prepared with assigned readings and 
    tasks with the readiness to participate. 
  • Active constructive participation: this element entails active engagement 
    demonstrated by participation in class discussions, asking and answering questions as 
    well as active listening.
  • Class assignments: in certain classes students will be given assignments (eg. a case 
    study analysis, or questions to discuss the reading) that students have to work on individually or in a group setting. Students are expected to be prepared to discuss readings and apply the knowledge gathered from the readings and discussions on the task at hand. Students' performance on these assignments contribute to their participation grade.

Study tour group presentation (30 %)

Students are requested to hold a group presentation on a chosen social psychological framework used to better understand the Holocaust. Students are required to integrate the academic materials with information gathered on the study tour and their personal reflections.

Study Tour Paper (20 %)

Students are requested to write a short paper on a chosen aspect of the study tour. The goal of the paper is to synthesize the academic literature with students' observations and experiences on tour (related to a chosen academic visit or activity) and their reflections.

Case study analysis group presentation (30 %)

At the end of the course, students in small groups will present a comprehensive case study analysis. The assignment requires students to ...

  • apply the academic knowledge they have gained in this course (theoretical frameworks and research evidence) in practice to analyze a case
  • use the knowledge gained on prevention and intervention approaches, programs and methods to create an intervention plan or propose recommendation


Use of laptops or other electronic devices in class

In order to motivate students' engagement laptops or phones are required to be used for only note taking purposes unless instructed otherwise.


Academic Regulations 

Please make sure to read the Academic RegulationsLinks to an external site. on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on:


DIS - Study Abroad in Scandinavia -



Course Summary:

Date Details Due