J.M. Berger

J.M. Berger is a writer and researcher focused on extremism. He is the author of four critically acclaimed books, including Extremism (2018) and Optimal (2020), and contributes to The Atlantic and other international publications. 

Berger is a research fellow with VOX-Pol and a PhD candidate at Swansea University's School of Law, where he studies extremist ideologies. His research encompasses extremism and terrorism, propaganda, and social media analytical techniques. As a consultant for social media and security companies and government agencies, he has conducted research and training on issues and policies related to homegrown terrorism, online extremism, advanced social media analysis, and countering violent extremism (CVE). He is a member of the advisory board of the RESOLVE Network

His newest book, Optimal, is a dystopian novel about a world run by algorithms and social media. Reviewers have praised it as "gripping," "absorbing" and "great storytelling." Extremism (MIT Press, August 2018) was named an Outstanding Academic Title for 2019 and has been reviewed as "meticulous," "an excellent primer," "exceptional" and "elegantly written." 


Discussions of extremist ideologies naturally focus on how in-groups criticize and attack out-groups. But many important extremist ideological texts are disproportionately focused on criticizing their own in-group. A new research report from J.M. Berger uses linkage-based analysis to examine Siege, a White nationalist tract that has played an important role in shaping modern neo-Nazi movements, including such violent organizations as Atomwaffen Division and The Base. While Siege strongly attacks out-groups, including Jewish and Black people, the book is overwhelmingly a critique of how the White people of its in-group fall short of Nazi ideals. Siege’s central proposition—that the White in-group is disappointing, deeply corrupt, and complacent—shapes its argument for an “accelerationist” strategy to hasten the collapse of society in order to build something entirely new. 

Read the RESOLVE Network report 

Related on GNET: The Out-Group in the In-Group

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