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Is Terrorism a Group Phenomenon?

NCJ Number
Aggression and Violent Behavior Volume: 15 Issue: 2 Dated: March/April 2010 Pages: 121-129
Max Taylor
Date Published
March 2010
9 pages
A critical review is conducted on whether terrorism is a group phenomenon which is shown to depend on how terrorism is defined.
This paper offers a critical review of the role of group processes in terrorist behavior. It draws on a fundamental distinction between terrorist 'involvement' and terrorist 'events' to explore what group phenomena might contribute to the understanding of actual terrorist behavior, as opposed to the context to terrorism. It does this through the use of a number of case studies of terrorist incidents, and explores how generalizations that might be made about potential group-focused causal accounts fail to offer sufficient explanations of the behavior identified. These case studies include The Jewel of Medina arson attack, and the PIRA attack that led to the death of Garda Jerry McCabe. This paper concludes by suggesting a need for a greater focus on individual activity in its immediate context, through empirical research into terrorist behavior, rather than its extensive hinterland. Figure and references (Published Abstract)


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