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Terrorist Violence and the Contextual, Facilitative and Causal Qualities of Group-Based Behaviors

NCJ Number
Aggression and Violent Behavior Volume: 17 Issue: 6 Dated: November/December 2012 Pages: 565-574
Paul Gill
Date Published
December 2012
10 pages
This article examines whether terrorism is a group phenomenon, and looks at how the contextual, facilitative, and causal dynamics of group-based behaviors differ based on which definitions are used to define a group.
Recent debates have re-emerged in the field of terrorism studies concerning the role of group-based behaviors in the causation of violence and whether suicide bombers display distinct personality traits. This article contributes to both debates through a review of pertinent social psychology supplemented by illustrative examples of successful, failed, and foiled suicide bombing plots that emerged within the United Kingdom over the past decade. The findings suggest that the contextual, facilitative and causal dynamics of group-based behaviors differ dependent upon how the 'group' is defined. The narrower the definition, the more causality we can interpret in group-based behaviors. The more broadly defined, the more contextual and facilitative, group-based behaviors appear to be in relation to suicide terrorism. (Published Abstract)