Uncertainty and Extremism

November 16-19, 2009
Claremont Graduate University
Los Angeles

This conference explores the role of uncertainty about self, one's place in the world and the future of the social order in the emergence or persistence of extremist ideological systems that are orthodox, fundamentalist and ethnocentric and associated with bigotry, intolerance and violence. The topic is highly and globally relevant to a modern world characterized by religious and political fundamentalism, mass migration, rapid cultural and technological change, and profound cultural, life-style and economic uncertainty.

This is a small social psychology research conference with 20 delegates and speakers from around the world. It is sponsored and funded by the European Association of Social Psychology and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, and also funded by Claremont Graduate University’s Division of Behavioral and Organizational Sciences and the John Stauffer Charitable Trust. The conference organizers are Michael Hogg, Kees van den Bos, and Arie Kruglanski, ably assisted by Justin Hackett and Namrata Mahajan.

Our delegates and speakers, with their talk titles, are:


Janice Adelman (Claremont Graduate University) 
The mix of religious and national identities under uncertainty in an intergroup conflict setting


Emanuele Castano (New School for Social Research)
Dehumanization: Its banal and extreme forms


Mark Dechesne (Leiden University)
What's in a name? The representation of extremism using political organization names


Bertjan Doosje (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
The multiple paths from uncertainty to radical right-wing attitudes and violent intentions


Vicki Esses (The University of Western Ontario)
Uncertainty, threat, and the dehumanization of immigrants and refugees


Chris Federico (University of Minnesota) 
Status asymmetries in the relationship between the need for closure and extremity in group-centric biases


Immo Fritsche (Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena)
Social extremism and group-based control restoration


Michele Gelfand (University of Maryland)
Culture and extremism


Agnieszka Golec de Zavala (Middlesex University)
Collective narcissism, perceived threat and intergroup hostility


Michael Hogg (Claremont Graduate University)
Self-uncertainty and group threat: A foundation for radicalism


Aaron Kay (University of Waterloo)
Compensatory control and religious belief


Arie Kruglanski (University of Maryland) 
When is a behavior/opinion/attitude "extreme" and how is this related to uncertainty?


Mark Landau (University of Kansas)
The existential function of enemyship: Evidence that people attribute influence to personal and political enemies to compensate for threats to control


Brenda Major (University of California, Santa Barbara)
Uncertainty, ideology and threat


Ian McGregor (York University)
Compensatory conviction as palliative goal regulation: Aversive uncertainty, uncertainty aversion, and reactive approach-motivation


 Jamie Napier (Yale University)
Naturalistic rationalizations of the status quo among the disadvantaged


Müjde Peker (University of Kent)
Enhancement and amelioration of ideological orthodoxy: Effects of uncertainty, threat and multicultural priming on conservatism


Travis Proulx (University of California, Santa Barbara) 
Meaning maintenance model: Anomaly and affirmation


Jim Sidanius (Harvard University) 
Under the color of law: The use of state terror and the maintenance of hierarchical group order


Kees van den Bos (Utrecht University)
Personal uncertainty in delayed-return cultures

A subset of the papers presented at the conference will be configured for publication in a forthcoming special issue of the Journal of Social Issues, edited by Michael Hogg, Kees van den Bos, and Arie Kruglanski.