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Social Psychology of Terrorism

Social Psychology of Terrorism

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Published by Dafi D. Wiradimadja

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categoriesTypes, Research
Published by: Dafi D. Wiradimadja on Jun 15, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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A Report Prepared under an Interagency Agreement by the Federal Research Division,Library of Congress September 1999 
Author: Rex A. HudsoEditor: Marilyn Majeska Project Managers: Andrea M. Savada Helen C. Metz  
Federal Research Division
Library of Congress
Washington, D.C. 20540–4840
Tel: 202–707–3900 Fax: 202–707–3920 E-Mail: frds@loc.gov Homepage: http://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/ 
Dear Reader:This product was prepared by the staff of the
Federal Research Division
of the
 Libraryof Congress
under an Interagency Agreement with the sponsoring United StatesGovernment agency.The Federal Research Division is the Library of Congress's primary fee-for-serviceresearch unit and has served United States Government agencies since 1948. At therequest of Executive and Judicial branch agencies, and on a cost-recovery basis, theDivision prepares customized studies and reports, chronologies, bibliographies,foreign-language abstracts, databases, and other directed-research products in hard-copy and electronic media. The research includes a broad spectrum of social sciences,physical sciences, and humanities topics using the collections of the Library of Congress and other information sources world-wide.
For additional information
on obtaining the research and analytical services of theFederal Research Division, please call 202–707–3909, fax 202–707–3920), via E-mailfrds@loc.gov, or write to:
 Marketing Coordinator, Federal Research Division, Libraryof Congress, Washington, DC 20540–4840.
The Division's World Wide WebHomepage can be viewed at http
loc.gov/rr/frd.Robert L. Worden, Ph.D.Chief Federal Research DivisionLibrary of Congress101 Independence Ave SEWashington, DC 20540–4840E-mail: rwor@loc.gov
The purpose of this study is to focus attention on the types of individuals andgroups that are prone to terrorism (see Glossary) in an effort to help improve U.S.counterterrorist methods and policies.The emergence of amorphous and largely unknown terrorist individuals andgroups operating independently (freelancers) and the new recruitment patterns of some groups, such as recruiting suicide commandos, female and child terrorists,and scientists capable of developing weapons of mass destruction, provide ameasure of urgency to increasing our understanding of the psychological andsociological dynamics of terrorist groups and individuals. The approach used inthis study is twofold. First, the study examines the relevant literature andassesses the current knowledge of the subject. Second, the study seeks todevelop psychological and sociological profiles of foreign terrorist individuals andselected groups to use as case studies in assessing trends, motivations, likely behavior, and actions that might deter such behavior, as well as revealvulnerabilities that would aid in combating terrorist groups and individuals.Because this survey is concerned not only with assessing the extensive literatureon sociopsychological aspects of terrorism but also providing case studies of about a dozen terrorist groups, it is limited by time constraints and dataavailability in the amount of attention that it can give to the individual groups, letalone individual leaders or other members. Thus, analysis of the groups andleaders will necessarily be incomplete. A longer study, for example, would allowfor the collection and study of the literature produced by each group in the formof autobiographies of former members, group communiqués and manifestos,news media interviews, and other resources. Much information about theterrorist mindset (see Glossary) and decision-making process can be gleanedfrom such sources. Moreover, there is a language barrier to an examination of theuntranslated literature of most of the groups included as case studies herein.Terrorism databases that profile groups and leaders quickly become outdated,and this report is no exception to that rule. In order to remain current, a terrorismdatabase ideally should be updated periodically. New groups or terrorist leadersmay suddenly emerge, and if an established group perpetrates a major terroristincident, new information on the group is likely to be reported in news media.Even if a group appears to be quiescent, new information may become availableabout the group from scholarly publications.

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