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White7e ppt ch02


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White7e ppt ch02

  1. 1. Jonathan R. White Chapter 2:Not Senseless Violence: The Social Underpinnings of Terrorism Rosemary Arway Hodges University
  2. 2. Terrorism as a Social Process: Two Frameworks Approaches to the study of social explanations of group behavior tend to focus on: o Meaning of activity o Structure of actions Social scientists: o Use to examine terrorism from meaning and structural frameworks o Meaning framework: ▪ The way we interpret the world motivates the action we take. o Structural framework: ▪ A group’s structure and purpose cause it to act and groups are created for specific functions.
  3. 3. Meaning framework: Meaning Framework: o Subjective interpretations that people give to events, physical objects or actions of others as well as themselves. o Meanings are developed by individuals and groups. Huntington: o Future conflicts will take place between world’s major civilizations . o World is divided into 3 economic groupings and conflicts will be based on the distribution of wealth. o Social action is based on social meaning. Terrorist organizations are the result of subjective meanings that need to be aggressively confronted if the alternative meaning should be introduced.
  4. 4. Meaning Framework Juergensmeyer: o The clash between modern values and traditional culture as one of the reasons for terrorism. Lewis: o Trouble between Islam and Western modernity can be attributed to the reasons for terrorism. Nance: o Terrorists take action based on an ideological desire for social change. o Terrorism results from the meanings applied to the modern world by terrorists. o Counterterrorism involves specific steps to prevent violence and deconstruct terrorist groups.
  5. 5. Structural Framework Attempts to understand terrorist behavior by looking at the way terrorists organizations function is called a structural framework. Black: o Terrorist organization take an action because they belong to a structure that operates for a special purpose. o The structure and movement of groups can explain terrorism. o Terrorism develops when an inferior group moves against a superior group, inducing mass casualties.
  6. 6. Structural Framework Latora and Marchiori: o Terrorist organizations: ▪ Are structured in the same manner as communication and transportation systems. ▪ Are composed of networks moving in patterns. o Criminal, terrorist, or revolutionary groups organize themselves in a network of smaller logistical structures. ▪ Any point where information, weapons, or personnel are gathered is called a node. ▪ The node being the critical target for counterterrorist operations. ▪ If the node is destroyed, the network is disrupted.
  7. 7. Terrorism as a Religious Process Ellingsen reports two primary reasons for continued influence of religion: o Religion has always been an important factor in the history of humanity. o Modernization tends to breakdown communities, families, and social orientation – people seek a deeper meaning to their lives. The impact of religion on terrorism, according to Ellingsen, is more important than political and economic factors.
  8. 8. Terrorism as a Religious Process Stern: o People around the world are returning to their religious roots as a means to escape the complexity of modern life.  When mythological truths compete, violence often results.  Stories change the nature of terrorist organizations and aid in producing a number of different group organizations and styles.  Individuals join a group because they believe they are joining a holy cause, they are usually motivated by the organization’s sacred story.  To maintain the power formally given by the sacred story, leaders develop internal enforcement mechanisms – rewards system. o Religion may also produce the “lone wolf avenger.” ▪ A person striking out with an ideology but no group.
  9. 9. Terrorism as a Religious Process Juergensmeyer: o Violence is a call to purify the world from the nonbeliever and the incorrect interpretations in a holy war. o Believers are participating in a struggle (a cosmic struggle) to change history. o The holy terrorist is victorious either by killing the enemy or by dying in the struggle.
  10. 10. Terrorism as a Religious Process Berman: o Economic factors influence religious terrorism. o Religious terrorism is deadlier than any other form of terrorism. o Statistic: there are 20 active religious terrorist organizations – 18 based on Islam. o Rather than attempting to counter a religious ideology, counterterrorism must be aimed at studying the internal ability of the group to operate effectively.
  11. 11. Clash of Civilization Huntington: o Cultural conflicts among world’s dominant civilizations constitute a clash of civilization. ▪ Regions in which more than one civilization exist threaten international peace, and the USA should avoid intervening in such areas. Esposito: o Culture is defined by more than religion and there is no monolithic Islamic civilization. Pipes: o The major conflicts will occur within Islam religion. Chomsky: o The world is too complicated to be explained by one big idea.
  12. 12. Terrorism as Practical Criminology Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) created localized terrorism task forces around the country. o Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) ▪ Allows the FBI to coordinate law enforcement resources in the face of domestic terrorism and to expand investigations. o The FBI also provides investigative resources when Americans are victimized by terrorism in other countries.
  13. 13. Terrorists v Criminals Bodrero: Terrorists  Criminals o Find strength in a o Usually uncommitted, cause and the crime is a method for ideology behind the obtaining goods cause o Opportunistic o Focused o Undedicated to a o Dedicated to a cause particular cause o Undisciplined, o Disciplined, trained, untrained, self- targets have symbolic centered value
  14. 14. Group Reinforcement and Moral Justification  Terrorists must feel they are justified in their behavior. o Terrorists must look outside normative social channels to gain approval. o Terrorist group becomes primary source of social reality. o Terrorist group provides social recognition and reinforcement. o Terrorist group reshapes identities and provides a ticket to social acceptance. o Terrorist group must be isolated from mainstream society.
  15. 15. Group Reinforcement and Moral Justification  Group reinforcement and isolation o Wilkinson: ▪ Terrorist groups reinforce individual loyalty through justification process. ▪ Constant reinforcement of antisocial behavior in terrorist groups produces conforming behavior inside the organization. o Post: ▪ Terrorist’s group becomes the only source of social reward because of its member’s isolation. ▪ Terrorists reinforce one another. ▪ The rejection of external authority results in the acceptance of internal authority because behavior must be reinforced somewhere.
  16. 16. Group Reinforcement and Moral Justification Borum: o Researchers have come to the conclusion that there is no standard rational for justifying behavior. o Three different phases of self-justification: ▪ Reasons for joining ▪ Reasons for remaining ▪ Reasons for leaving
  17. 17. Group Reinforcement and Moral Justification Victoroff: o There is a multiplicity of factors (social and psychological) used to justify violence. o Terrorists operate and justify violence because they emotionally attach themselves to an ideology. ▪ They will not tolerate moral ambiguity, and have the capacity to suppress instinctive and learned moral limitations on behavior. o There is a need to study the impact of leadership on group behavior. Cooper: o Terrorist would justify more destruction because it is required for televised drama.
  18. 18. Group Reinforcement and Moral Justification Blomberg, Hess, and Weerapana: o Economic factors play a role in justifying terrorist violence. ▪ Terrorist groups are not happy with the economic status quo. ▪ Terrorist see denial of economic opportunity as a justification for their action. Stern: o Several factors must be in place for group cohesion: ▪ Group must identify an enemy. ▪ Group must have a story. ▪ Group needs its own language or symbolic words to demonize the enemy.
  19. 19. Can the Terrorist Personality be Profiled?  FBI Behavioral Science Unit has attempted to develop profiles of terrorists based on individual psychological characteristics.  Rejecting Terrorist Profiles o Laqueur: no one can develop a composite picture of a terrorist: ▪ Terrorist behavior fluctuates with historical, political, and social circumstances. ▪ Individual and group profiles are the result of political and social conditions. o Borum: there is no single terrorist personality
  20. 20. Profiling Terrorist Behavior Ross: o It may be possible to conceptualize terrorism in a model combining social structure with group psychology. o There are five interconnected processes involved in terrorism: ▪ Joining the group ▪ Forming the activity ▪ Remaining in the campaign ▪ Leading the organization ▪ Engaging in acts of terrorism
  21. 21. Profiling Terrorist Behavior Two factors are involved in the rise of terrorism at any point in history: o Social structure o Structural conditions Ross identified five psychological factors involved in the development of terrorism: o Facilitating traits o Frustration/narcissism-aggression o Associated drives o Learning opportunities o Cost benefit calculations
  22. 22. Profiling Terrorist Behavior Marc Segeman: o “Most people think that terrorism comes from poverty, broken families, ignorance, immaturity, lack of family or occupational responsibilities, weak minds susceptible to brainwashing – the sociopath, the criminals, the religious fanatic, or, in this country, some believe they’re just plain evil.” o Taking these perceived root causes in turn, three quarters of his sample came from the upper or middle class. ▪ The vast majority – 90 percent – came from caring, intact families. ▪ Sixty-three percent had gone to college, as compared with the 5-6 percent that’s usual for the third world. o These are the best and brightest of their societies in many ways.
  23. 23. Profiling Terrorist Behavior Marc Segeman: o Al Qaeda’s members are not the Palestinian fourteen- year- olds we see on the news, but join the jihad at the average age of 26. o Three-quarters were professionals or semi-professionals. o They are engineers, architects, and civil engineers, mostly scientists. Very few humanities are represented. o Quite surprisingly, very few had any background in religion. o “Bin Laden himself is a civil engineer, Zawahiri is a physician, Mohammed Atta was, of course, an architect; and a few members are military, such as Mohammed Ibrahim Makawi, who is supposedly the head of the military committee.” (Sageman, M. (November 1, 2004) Understanding Terror Networks. Retrieved from
  24. 24. Routes to Terrorism and Paths to Radicalization Psychological and social factors motivate people to join and remain in terrorist groups. Segeman: o Process of among man: ▪ Alienated man find one another ▪ Discover religion ▪ Terrorism enters the equation if the newfound religious orientation turns toward violence
  25. 25. Groups in Prison and Radicalization Internal and external process: o Internal: charismatic prison leader gathers an entourage o External: through visiting chaplains o Patterns of conversion: ▪ Crisis ▪ Protection seekers ▪ Religious searcher ▪ Manipulation for personal gain ▪ Free world recruitment throughout outsiders
  26. 26. Radicalization Individual radicalization: o When a relatively weak group feels that its existence is threatened by superior group ▪ This may be enhanced when the superior group is seen to be morally depraved Commonalities in radicalization: o Literalist interpretations of religion o Trust only to selected sources o No toleration for deviation o Acceptation of the idea of the clash of civilization o Selective interpretation of government policy