Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Like many other concepts in political science, the notion of radicalism dates back to the political conflicts of the late 18th and early 19th century. Even then, its content depended on the political context and was far from well defined. Consequently, being “radical” has meant different things to different people at different times in different countries. Moreover, radicalism is closely related, if not identical to, a number of (equally vague) concepts, such as extremism, fundamentalism, and populism. As of today, there is no universally accepted definition of radicalism and, by implication, radical attitudes. There is, however, a core meaning of radicalism: Radicals are willing to challenge the ground rules of politics to get to the root (Latin: radix ) of what they perceive to be the most pressing political problems. In any given context, radicals will confront the political establishment and will support policies whose implementation would trigger systemic change. ...