How Sports Identification Compares to Political and Religious Identification: Relationships to Violent Extremism and Radicalization

in Sociology of Sport Journal

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Andrew C. BillingsUniversity of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, USA

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Nathan A. ToweryUniversity of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, USA

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Sean R. SadriUniversity of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, USA

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Elisabetta ZengaroUniversity of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, USA

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A national survey of 314 Americans was utilized to determine the degree in which sport identification functions similarly to political and religious identification as well as the degree to which each of the three forms of group hyper-identification correlate with violent extremism and violent radicalization. Results found that sport identification correlated with extremism but not radicalization, political identification correlated with both, and religious identification correlated with neither. Moreover, each type of identification positively correlated with the other, and subgroups within each form of identification functioned similarly. Ramifications for social identity theory are advanced, arguing that whether one identifies with these groups appears more pertinent than which group identifies within that identity association regarding propensity for violent extremism and radicalization. Avenues for future research are advanced.

Billings (acbillings@ua.edu) is corresponding author, https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4818-5799

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