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The Terrorist Identity


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Part I1 Introduction 2 The Psychology of Terrorism 3 The Sociology of Identity Part II4 An Overview of Five Extremist Organizations 5 The Provisional Irish Republican Army 6 The Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) 7 The Peruvian Shining Path8 The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam9 Racist Skinheads Part III10 Conclusion NotesReferences IndexAbout the Author

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Explains how violent and extremist collective behaviour emerges culturally, how it informs the identity of group members socially, and how participants assume their place in these groups completely even at the expense of life-threatening harm to others or to themselves

About the Author

Michael P. Arena is employed by a large state law enforcement agency where he works as an analyst and trainer. Bruce A. Arrigo is Professor of Crime, Law, and Society at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He is the author or editor of numerous books, most recently, Criminal Behavior: A Systems Approach and Philosophy, Crime, and Criminology.


"The authors argue that terrorists can be better understood using the growing body of research known as the sociology of terrorism and, in particular, through the lens of structural symbolic interactionism, which explains aggression by focusing on how group identity is formed at the individual level." Brian Forst, Theoretical Criminology "The interpretive framework presented offers students of political violence a highly accessible template from which to study the socio-psychological reasons individuals are drawn into terrorist groups, and how the groups themselves act to reinforce the identities of their members...The authors are to be commended for producing a model with such tremendous analytical clarity and pedagogical utility." Choice "Arena and Arrigo give us a brilliant glimpse into the 'terrorist' psyche as they detail the creation and maintenance of identity in various terrorist organizations. Their conceptual framework has important implications for law enforcement, public policy makers, and academic researchers engaged in the study of terrorism." Lynne Snowden, co-author of Collective Violence "The overall quality of this book is astonishing, the ease of reading and the depth of theoretical knowledge, equally impressive. It is a valuable contribution to the terrorism literature and of such quality that it will be quoted, used, debated, and confronted by researchers for years to come. This book represents a vanguard of sociological thought on this subject and is a much needed voice in the debates on terrorism." James David Ballard, author of Terrorism, Media, And Public Policy: The Oklahoma City Bombing

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