Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression
About: Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression is an academic journal published by Routledge. The journal publishes majorly in the area(s): Terrorism & Poison control. It has an ISSN identifier of 1943-4472. Over the lifetime, 276 publications have been published receiving 2740 citations. The journal is also known as: Behavioral sciences of terrorism & political aggression & BSTPA.
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors investigated individual disengagement from violent extremism in liberal democracies and proposed a tentative five domain, three level model of disengagement called the Pro-Integration Model (PIM).
Abstract: This thesis investigated individual disengagement from violent extremism in liberal democracies. Despite enormous investment of the last two decades into responses to terrorism, the exit and reintegration processes of extremists back into the community are not well understood. Whilst most extremists struggle with the transition back into society, most are eventually able to move on with their lives, becoming citizens again. Most do so unassisted. Therefore, studying the phenomenon of natural disengagement is a critical avenue to understanding why people choose to leave, how they leave, how they reconnect and what areas of their lives undergo change in doing so. Given the paucity of empirical data on this topic, the primary purpose of this research project was to generate such data. The second goal was to analyse the empirical data from the perspective of participants themselves, addressing the question: 'What is the experience of disengagement from the perspective of extremists themselves?' The final aim of this study was to integrate any new findings with current literature to advance the state of knowledge about disengagement from violent extremism. Using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) in-depth interviews were conducted with 22 former extremists of different ideologies, including former militant Tamil separatists, former neo-jihadists, former right-wing extremists, a former left-wing militant, and former nonviolent but direct-action radical environmentalists. The participants discussed how and why they stopped their involvement, how their sense of self and identity changed, as well as how they coped afterwards and renegotiated their relationship with mainstream society. Each participant described multiple reasons for leaving. Several cited the ineffectiveness and/or the horror of violence, whilst some burnt-out. Overall disillusionment was the most common trigger for eventual disengagement. Once disillusioned ‘pull factors’ such as having a family or a career became attractive. Most reported a delay between early doubts and actual exit, and most experienced a difficult transition out. Some had longer-term difficulties. Fifteen themes emerged directly from the transcripts of the 22 participant interviews. These themes clustered into five domains which collectively represent the phenomenological essence of disengagement from extremism, including subsequent re-engagement with society. The domains are Social Relations, Coping, Identity, Ideology, and Action Orientation, each with three component themes. A key finding was that sustained disengagement is actually about the proactive, holistic and harmonious engagement the person has with wider society afterwards. This has been termed 'pro-integration'. Finally, this research project went further than anticipated and, building on existing empirical research, proposed a tentative five domain, three level model of disengagement called the Pro-Integration Model (PIM). It is suggested that incorporating pro-integration into the research, policy and intervention agenda is a strengths-based way of assisting people to genuinely connect with civic society after their involvement into extremism. It is concluded that for former extremists to identify with, and have a sense of belonging in mainstream society is not only good for them as individuals, but advantageous for a resilient society, and as a side-effect, cultivates strong protection against re-involvement in violent extremism.
TL;DR: The authors proposed a framework to understand and categorise CVE programs, and applied this to Australia's CVE efforts from 2010 to 2014, finding that Australian CVE efforts have overwhelmingly focused on broadly targeted prevention programs that not only make success difficult to evaluate or demonstrate, but also raise the risk of stigmatising entire communities.
Abstract: The following article contributes to the emerging field of countering violent extremism (CVE) by proposing a framework to understand and categorise CVE programs, and applying this to Australia's CVE efforts from 2010 to 2014. The first section outlines the evolution of CVE as a policy tool. A framework to categorise CVE programs based on the public health model follows, using illustrative examples of CVE projects run in Western countries. This framework is then applied to CVE programs in Australia, providing a preliminary analysis of CVE policy and its impact. It finds that Australian CVE efforts have overwhelmingly focused on broadly targeted prevention programs that not only make success difficult to evaluate or demonstrate, but also raise the risk of stigmatising entire communities. Most significantly, this broad focus has meant that Australian CVE efforts have likely failed to reach those most in need of assistance.
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors identify and explore a series of challenges in interviewing participants in political violence and argue for greater future engagement from social science researchers, and psychologists in particular, and argue that students and scholars of terrorism must do more than simply "talk" to terrorists.
Abstract: In social science research on terrorism, there is a continued lack of individual-level, data-driven evidence to test hypotheses, build reliable case studies, and support the emergence of new theories about the psychological process in the development of the terrorist. To help redress this deficiency, this article calls for explicit discussion of researchers' reluctance either to interview terrorists or share their experiences of having done so, as well as greater methodological transparency in their efforts. It identifies and explores a series of challenges in interviewing participants in political violence and argues for greater future engagement from social science researchers, and psychologists in particular. If both behavioral and interdisciplinary research on terrorism is to achieve its extraordinary potential, students and scholars of terrorism must do more than simply ‘talk’ to terrorists. They must be open to comparing experiences in an attempt to remove the novelty associated with research interv...
TL;DR: This paper explored the relationship between media use and uncertainty reduction, and explored the perceived usefulness of the news media in alleviating stress, and differences in these responses between men and women, and found that the results do not support the predicted relationship of media use with uncertainty reduction; however differences between the sexes emerged in both response patterns and media preferences.
Abstract: Major acts of terrorism, like all public crises, instigate patterns of information seeking among the general public. These patterns of information seeking are consistent with previous research in social psychology, suggesting that in times of great fear, confusion or uncertainty, there is a fundamental need to acquire information that may be useful in restoring some sense of normality. Using survey data collected in three major American cities, the current study sought to examine whether or not this type of uncertainty reduction process occurred in the days following September 11. In addition to exploring the relationship between media use and uncertainty reduction, additional analyses explored the perceived usefulness of the news media in alleviating stress, and differences in these responses between men and women. The results do not support the predicted relationship between media use and uncertainty reduction; however differences between the sexes emerged in both response patterns and media preferences...
TL;DR: The authors found that those best positioned to notice early signs of individuals considering acts of violent extremism might be those individuals' friends: perhaps more so than school counselors, clergy, or family members.
Abstract: Who would be the first to notice, and able to intervene, with individuals considering acts of violent extremism? Study 1 found evidence that those best positioned to notice early signs of individuals considering acts of violent extremism might be those individuals’ friends: perhaps more so than school counselors, clergy, or family members. Furthermore, participants indicated that the predominant reason underlying individuals’ reluctance to reach out to countering violent extremism (CVE)-relevant service providers was fear of the potential repercussions for such actions. Additionally, that fear generalized not only to a reluctance to reach out to law enforcement agencies, but also to others within prospective CVE-relevant networks (i.e. religious officials, or family members). An option for addressing such reluctance (via an evidence-based, anonymous, texting-oriented crisis hotline for associate-gatekeepers) is discussed. Given that reluctance, what factors might affect individuals’ willingness to interve...