Beyond the Conceptualization of Terrorism: A Psychological-Structural Model of the Causes of this Activity
Craig Summers and Eric Markusen (eds.), 1999, COLLECTIVE VIOLENCE: HARMFUL BEHAVIOR IN GROUPS AND GOVERNMENT, New York: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc., pp. 169-192
13 Pages Posted: 24 May 2014
Date Written: 1999
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Gulf War, election of Nelson Mandela, fall of the Berlin Wall, and the signing of the: Israeli/Palestinian peace accords, many observers and analysts have argued that oppositional political terrorism is either a thing of the past, or that it will take new forms and actually increase. The relatively recent Oklahoma City bombing, sarin gas incident in the Tokyo subway, and attacks by Hamas in Israel have predictably renewed interest in terrorism among a variety of constituencies. After a careful review of the literature it appears that the field of research on terrorism is dominated by the overabundance of discussions on proper definitions, conceptualizations, descriptions, and the lack of causal studies on terrorism. Nevertheless, the most prominent causes cited in the causal explanations fall into three categories: structural, psychological, and rational choice.
The purpose of this chapter is to construct a model that integrates structural and psychological causes of terrorism to help researchers test the relative importance of previously identified factors and their interactions that determine the scope, intensity, and amount of terrorism. Such a model would help analysts better understand the individuals and groups involved in this form of political behavior and crime and why they engage in terrorism. It might also aid policymakers to develop more informed counter-terrorist responses. By extension, this should help minimize needless injuries, deaths, and property destruction.
Keywords: terrorism, causes, psychological models, structural models, proper definitions, causal explanations, rational choice, crime, criminal justice, counter-terrorist responses,
JEL Classification: H56, H59, H89, K14, K19, K39, K42, K49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation