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Political Violence and Collective Aggression

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Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression
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Political Violence and Collective Aggression: 2009 CICA-STR International
Tali Waltersa; J. Martin Ramirezb
a Department of Psychobiology, Aggression Research Group, Universidad Complutense Madrid, Spain
b Society for Terrorism Research, Department of Psychiatry, Tufts University School of Medicine and
Tufts-New England Medical Center, Boston, MA, United States
First published on: 13 July 2010
To cite this Article Walters, Tali and Ramirez, J. Martin(2011) 'Political Violence and Collective Aggression: 2009 CICA-
STR International Conference', Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression, 3: 1, 35 — 71, First published
on: 13 July 2010 (iFirst)
To link to this Article: DOI: 10.1080/19434470903319532
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Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression
Vol. 3, No. 1, January 2011, 35–71
ISSN 1943-4472 print/ISSN 1943-4480 online
© 2011 Society for Terrorism Research
DOI: 10.1080/19434470903319532
Political Violence and Collective Aggression: 2009 CICA-STR
International Conference
2 September 2009
Jordanstown, Northern Ireland
Tali Waltersa and J. Martin Ramirezb
aDepartment of Psychobiology, Aggression Research Group, Universidad Complutense
Madrid, Spain; bSociety for Terrorism Research, Department of Psychiatry, Tufts University
School of Medicine and Tufts–New England Medical Center, Boston, MA 02114, United States
Taylor and FrancisRIRT_A_432127.sgm10.1080/19434470903319532Interdisciplinary Research on Terrorism and Political1943-4472 (print)/1943-4480 (online)Original Article2009Taylor &
In September of this year, 75 members of the world social science community gath-
ered in Northern Ireland, at the Jordanstown campus of the University of Ulster, for
the 2009 CICA-STR International Conference on Political Violence and Collective
Aggression. The International Colloquia on Conflict and Aggression (CICA) and the
Society for Terrorism Research (STR), along with the Social and Policy Research
Institute (SPRI) at the University of Ulster, were hosts to researchers, thought lead-
ers, and practitioners from around the globe in this third annual gathering to learn,
share ideas and influence each other in the study of political violence and collective
This year, Rachel Monaghan, Senior Lecturer in Criminology at the University
of Ulster and SPRI member, was the onsite conference organizer. With her extensive
professional contacts, Dr Monaghan brought together many of her colleagues from
the UK to present on such wide ranging topics as the definitions of aggression and
terrorism, the use of words in terrorism and political violence, the impact of
interface areas in Northern Ireland, and an examination of Northern Ireland in the
post-peace process period. Global issues related to political violence and collective
aggression were addressed as well by participants from Estonia, Poland, Italy,
Croatia, Germany, Iran, Ireland, Portugal, Japan, Spain, Australia, the United States
and Mexico.
The Society for Terrorism Research was proud to host a celebration at the confer-
ence to launch their flagship journal Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political
Aggression, where delegates had the opportunity to meet journal co-editors Samuel
Justin Sinclair and Daniel Antonius.
In 2006, J. Martin Ramirez of CICA was a fellow at Harvard University in
Boston, on leave from the Universidad Complutense in Madrid as a Professor of
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36 2009 CICA-STR International Conference
Psychobiology and Head of the Aggression Research Group. That year, Tali K.
Walters worked also in Boston as a forensic psychologist and member of the Govern-
ing Board of the newly emerging Society for Terrorism Research. Brought together
by their common interests in aggressive behaviour, and with the goal of creating
venues for interdisciplinary global collaboration, they organized their first CICA/STR
International Conference. A broad array of professionals were brought together to
meet for three days, in a relaxed venue, with a small enough number of people that
everyone would have a name, and would, we hoped, start collaborations to better
understand and thus reduce the violence associated with politics. We believe that it is
through this interdisciplinary, global collaboration that such profound work will
The first CICA/STR International Conference convened in Miraflores de la Sierra,
Spain, in September 2007. Many participants from the first conference, eager to
continue relationships started in Miraflores, returned to the second CICA/STR Inter-
national Conference in Zakopane, Poland the following July 2008. This year, we
welcomed back many participants from past years. They know that, through well-
planned organization, personal attention to attendants, and a sound scientific
programme, they will have the opportunity to share their research and ideas, learn from
international colleagues, influence others and develop interdisciplinary relationships
that lead to long-term personal and professional collaboration.
In the past years, our invitation to participants has been to learn new information,
share ideas developed from individual cultures and disciplines and influence each
other’s work for when they return to their home countries. This year, we would like
to expand our invitation. We invite you to become collaborators.
Learn – Share – Influence – Collaborate
(in chronological order)
Policing in Northern Ireland: Enabling the future through the past
Dame Nuala O’Loan
Ireland’s Special UN Envoy on Women, Peace and Security
Years of political violence and collective aggression, at its most extreme involving
widespread murder, bombings and shootings in Northern Ireland, have demon-
strated that the way in which policing is conducted in these circumstances is enor-
mously important. Ordinary policing has to continue side-by-side with the policing
of the extraordinary. In so doing, the contribution that the people can make to
policing should never be ignored. Police officers may become collusive with the
perpetrators of violence. They may become involved in that violence in all its
forms. Perpetrators need community support. They need places to store things, eyes
to watch what is going on, safe houses and many other things (and people very
often do these things for them because they know that, if they do not help they will
be attacked and even murdered). There will be those within the community who
can alert the constitutional forces to what is going on. It may be dangerous for them
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Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression 37
to do so. However they may wish to help. Where communities, for whatever
reason, harbour those intent on violence of this nature, those communities will
become dangerous places for the police. The challenge in Northern Ireland was to
face the legacy left by The Troubles and to rebuild policing so that it became capa-
ble of functioning with the consent of [almost] all the people of Northern Ireland,
with visible and effective accountability mechanisms. The process of doing that led
to unexpected and fundamental challenges to all. This keynote address will explore
some of that reality.
Convenors: Chris Lamont and Gabriele Porretto (Transitional Justice Institute,
University of Ulster)
Participants: Jean Allain (commentator)
William Henderson
Chris Lamont
Yassin A. M’Boge
Gabriele Porretto
This symposium aims to explore some of the relevant legal and political issues raised
by the definition and the prosecution of the crime of aggression, both as a state crime
and as an individual crime under international law. The panel brings together scholars
working in the field of international relations, international law and international
criminal law.
Law, power and aggression in international society: The United Nations Security
Council and the International Criminal Court
Chris Lamont
University of Ulster (Northern Ireland)
This presentation is meant to set the scene for the discussion in this symposium.
Attempts at establishing the relationship between the International Criminal Court
(ICC) and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) have provoked a growing
debate as to the Security Council’s legislative, and potential judicial, role in interna-
tional society. This paper will focus on the specific question of the identification and
punishment of aggression in international society. The UNSC has the authority to both
identify and punish acts of aggression, among other serious breaches of the UN Char-
ter. As the Rome Statute grants the ICC jurisdiction over the crime of aggression, the
UNSC and the ICC will potentially share overlapping responsibilities once a consensus
over definitional aspects of the crime of aggression has been achieved. This has raised
important questions over proposals to limit the ICC’s jurisdiction over the crime of
aggression in order to preserve the UNSC’s autonomy to act in response to interna-
tional crisis. This paper will examine these proposals and their theoretical implications
in the context of the evolving judicial architecture of international security.
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38 2009 CICA-STR International Conference
Rome to Kampala: The International Criminal Court and the crime of
William Henderson
Glasgow Caledonian University (Scotland)
This paper primarily analyses the development of the definition of the crime of aggres-
sion within the framework of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of
the International Criminal Court and also through the subject specific negotiations in
the Special Working Group on the Crime of Aggression. In addition to these recent
negotiations the paper aims to cover work on the crime of aggression leading up to the
United Nations Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Establishment of an
International Criminal Court and at the 1998 Rome Conference itself. The paper seeks
to chart the progress made by the international community in advance of the ICC
Review Conference, due to take place next year in Kampala, Uganda. The relationship
of the crime of aggression to the act of state aggression is covered, particularly with
regard to the place given to the wording of United Nations General Assembly Reso-
lution 3314 (XXIX), 14 December 1974 (Definition of Aggression), in the proposed
amendment to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal
Operationalizing the crime of aggression
Yassin M’Boge
Queen’s University Belfast (Northern Ireland)
The process of institutionalizing the crime of aggression demonstrates the interdepen-
dence between peace, security and justice. In 1998 the Rome Statute provided a future
blueprint for an institutional response that could see the International Criminal Court
investigating and prosecuting the crime of aggression. Yet the bigger question must
be asked as to what the prospective role of the International Criminal Court can be in
the prevention and prosecution of acts of aggression. The complexities surrounding
the crime of aggression are not limited to the substantive issues of law but include
practical and operational obstacles.
It is the aim of this paper to explore how the practical investigation and prosecu-
tion of the crime of aggression by an international institution such as the Court could
address some of the obstacles that potentially lay ahead. In light of the fact that the
crime of aggression has a particular political component, some obstacles to investiga-
tions and prosecutions will be unique to this specific crime compared with genocide,
crimes against humanity and war crimes. Thus for the judicial operations of the Inter-
national Criminal Court to have any chance of success, the practical and operational
side of the crime of aggression cannot and must not be overlooked.
Aggression as a ‘leadership crime’
Gabriele Porretto
University of Ulster (Northern Ireland)
This presentation aims to complement the elements discussed by other panellists and
to concentrate, most notably, on the relationships between (a) individual acts leading
to aggression and (b) state criminality, under the angle of the so-called elements of
crime. In order to explore this relationship, I will first critically assess the idea according
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Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression 39
to which an act of aggression is necessarily a ‘leadership crime’, because it cannot be
perpetrated by low-level political or military officials. I will more generally consider
the question of the nature and degree of causation required by the crime of aggression,
and most notably its ramifications in terms of complicity and collective responsibility
in the planning and the execution of aggression.
Why there is no such thing as terrorism: Problems of definition
Dominic Bryan
Queen’s University Belfast (Northern Ireland)
In this paper I argue that the term ‘terrorism’ should not be used as an objective cate-
gory in research and that potentially the use of this term makes conflict management
and transformation more difficult. Attempts by numerous academics to define terror-
ism end in failure because of the diverse nature of the forms of violence they wish to
place in the category. Definitions try to incorporate state and non-state actors whereas
most of the research concentrates on the non-state actors. Academic work on the
nature of ‘terrorism’ is further polluted by legal definitions constructed by atate actors.
The term is used in too many emotive contexts and is too politically loaded to be
useful in any objective form. Academic research needs to concentrate, using labelling
theory, on how the term is used, who labels who, and when. Only in this way can the
academy offer assistance to political processes of conflict transformation.
Using the language of terror to identify motivations: A content analysis of Islamic
terrorists and Irish Republican Army messages
Harrison Weinstein, Darvis Frazer and Bruce Bongar
Pacific Graduate School of Psychology (United States)
Terrorism has occurred throughout history and is carried out in numerous fashions.
Two groups that have received considerable coverage are Al-Qaeda and other Islamic
groups and the Irish Republican Army (IRA). These organizations have both been
labelled as terrorist groups and researchers have attempted to make claims that group
their actions. Some common hypothesized characteristics between Islamic and IRA
terrorists include political and religious motivation, the homicidal nature of their
attacks, and lack of evident psychopathology. Content analysis was used to decode
messages from these two groups. These pieces of evidence were examined by the
Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count programme. This analysis includes self-references,
social words, positive and negative emotions, cognitive words, as well as a number of
other dimensions. Breaking down the sources linguistically allows the statements to
be compared and contrasted both within and between groups. Other studies have
focused on behaviours and demographics to categorize these organizations, but this
data provides unique insight into the motivations and final thoughts of various forms
of terrorism. Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count analysis revealed differences among
several variables including emotions, religion, personal and social concern, and use of
tense. Research evaluating the various manifestations of terrorism and the underlying
mechanisms of these divergent acts serves to enhance our understanding of this occur-
rence. In turn, this information potentially assists in the prevention of future attacks,
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40 2009 CICA-STR International Conference
both Islamic and IRA based. In sum, research that aims to comprehend both common-
alities and differences between various terrorist groups is a worthy goal that will serve
to add to the knowledge base of this significant phenomenon.
Suicide terrorism: Words can matter
Dominik Güss
University of North Florida (United States)
In scientific literature, the terms suicide bomber, suicide terrorist, Islamic martyr,
martyr or volunteer on a suicide mission are often used interchangeably, although
definitions of these terms vary considerably. This is the first study to investigate the
mental concepts related to these different terms when presented independently and
when embedded in context. Participants were 129 undergraduate students who were
asked to freely associate on six presented words, one of them being one of the five
keywords mentioned above. Then, participants were presented with two scenarios on
suicide terrorism in a counterbalanced order. The same keyword from the association
task was used in the two scenarios to describe the actor. The scenarios differed mainly
in victims: in one scenario, innocent children and civilians died; in the other scenario,
defence ministry workers and army officers died as a consequence of the suicide act.
After each scenario, the participants were asked to answer Likert scale 5 questions
regarding rationality and selfishness of the actor and the possible motivations of the
actor, in one open ended question: Why do you think the person did this? and several
demographic questions. Results showed (1) significant differences in positive and
negative valence of associations and kind of associations when terms were presented
individually, (2) no significant effect of target words on rating question judgments
when presented in context, (3) effects of scenario context on judgments regarding
actor and action, and (4) the tendency of participants to more frequently mention
scientifically supported causes of suicide attacks than media-reported causes to the
open question. Although context information seems to outweigh the connotations of
the individual terms, results caution researchers and media on the need to reflect on
the use of those terms and its possible consequences.
Ballots and bombs? Terrorist activity during national electoral campaigns
Kathleen Smarick
National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism
(START) (United States)
High-profile incidents such as the 2004 Madrid commuter-train bombings, three days
before national elections in Spain, have fuelled a conventional wisdom that the
chances of terrorist activity increase as national elections approach in a given country.
There exists a sound theoretical basis for this expectation: Terrorists are political
actors, and campaign seasons are key times to try to impact politics and policy. While
terrorists might be marginalized from the electoral process, they can choose to
concentrate their activities during electoral seasons in an effort to impact the
campaigns and the subsequent elections. This paper serves to provide an empirical
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Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression 41
assessment of this conventional wisdom by analysing the relationship between legiti-
mate political activity – namely, national elections – and illegitimate political activity
– namely, terrorist activity. The analysis will employ data on elections in 134 coun-
tries around the world from 1998 to 2004, as collected by Election Guide, a
programme of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems. Using these data in
conjunction with data on terrorist incidents from the Global Terrorism Database
(GTD), the authors use Cox Proportional Hazard models to test the hypothesis that the
risk of terrorist activity increases in the build up to a national election. The models
will control for such country-level factors as level of democracy, involvement in a
violent conflict, and level of economic development, as well as specific elements of
electoral processes (including whether a country employs a parliamentary or presi-
dential system of governance), towards the goal of generating insights about the
conditions under which increased levels of terrorist activity are most likely.
Violent globalism – conflict in response to empire
Cornelia Beyer
University of Hull (England)
Terrorism can be understood as a violent, politically motivated action against a societal
order, mounted from within it, to bring about change or to attack and even overthrow
the ruling elite. So the term ‘terrorism’ itself refers to a presumed hierarchical structure
with at its head a widely acknowledged elite. This interpretation of ‘new terrorism’ in
particular contains the notion of Western imperialism (according to Galtung), with
conflict linked to the experience of structural and material violence. Western imperi-
alism is expressed in at least some of Galtung’s five dimensions to be found in the rela-
tions with the Middle East, the main breeding ground of the ‘new terrorism’. The
opposition to this imperialism, hence ‘new’ or international terrorism, however, is not
confined to a state or states, but must be described as a global, transnational phenom-
enon. Hence we can speak of globalisms of violence in the present-day world. United
States foreign policies, and imperialism, and ‘new terrorism’ furthermore constitute
each other, they react to each other, and cause and effect are not easily discernable.
Thomas Hobbes and the containment of aggression
Lorenzo Gabutti
RAI Italian Radio and Television (Italy)
According to Hobbes, in the state of nature each person has a natural right to every
other person’s being and body. This means that aggression is rife, and no-one can be
secure in their being, let alone their possessions. Hobbes’s primary concern is to ensure
the enjoyment of the former, i.e. personal survival, at any cost. That is why natural law
enjoins to seek the peace, in order to exit this feral state; however, as opposed to Locke,
Hobbes, in his deep pessimism, is not primarily concerned with ensuring the enjoy-
ment of personal property. There are two main problems which derive from Hobbes’s
view concerning the containment of aggression. The first is normative: in order to
ensure survival, Hobbes is prepared to countenance that a subject may exercise
violence on another subject if authority requires him to. Besides being morally objec-
tionable, it is hard to see how this view may lead to Hobbes’s main aim, the prevention
of civil war – unless, of course, one has the good fortune of being ruled by an
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42 2009 CICA-STR International Conference
enlightened sovereign. The second is psychological: it is that, paradoxically for a pessi-
mist, Hobbes places an inordinate amount of trust in the power to attain compliance
on the part of the signatories of the compact. He does not put in place a mechanism to
persuade people to comply, other than Leviathan, the overarching power of the State.
Yet, when the power of the State is found to be wanting, he has no means, given his
philosophical egoism, of justifying respect of the law, other than an irrational belief
that one is bound by the promise of obedience. Ultimately, he cannot explain this obli-
gation from a moral point of view, precisely because he has excluded, to start with,
that human beings may act from motivations other than self-interest.
Impact of the way people perceived terrorists on the fear of future terrorist
Malgorzata Kossowska
Jagiellonian University (Poland)
Agniexzka Golec de Zavala
Middlesex University (England)
Thomas Kubik
Jagiellonian University (Poland)
Three studies examine how Al-Qaeda terrorists are perceived by Polish participants
and how these perceptions are related to emotional reactions to terrorism and support
for counter-terrorism policy: installation of the American National Missile Defence
(NMD) system in Poland. In study 1 we combine qualitative and quantitative
approaches to test the terrorist perception and identify four images of Al-Qaeda terror-
ists: psychopathic criminals, strategists, ideologues and victims of the system. The
results of study 2 indicate that two images attributing irrationality to Al-Qaeda terror-
ists and unpredictability to their actions (psychopathic criminals and ideologues) are
related to high perceived risk of future terrorist attacks, fear of terrorism and a tendency
to catastrophize terrorism. Results of study 3 show that these two images are related
to opposition towards NMD in Poland. Fear of terrorism mediates this relationship.
The image of terrorists as rational strategists is not related to fear of terrorism and is
related to positive attitudes towards installation of the NMD in Poland.
Political subversion or religious violence: The threat of Al-Qaeda ideology in
Felipe Duarte
Portuguese Catholic University (Portugal)
Context: The end of the Cold War left us an ideological and geostrategic vacuum,
conducive to the increasing of religious ideologies, which use violence in pursuit of
their political demands. In retrospect, it is easy to find the motive of the most violent
terrorist attacks, since the end of the Cold War, in an ideological matrix that has a
theoretical structure based in a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam.
Argument: The fundamental issue of this paper is to conceptualize and analyse if there
is a relationship between the rise of religious fundamentalism and political violence in
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Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression 43
contemporary international relations. Therefore, the main hypothesis will have as a
mainstream religion, as a political weapon, and the use of terror, by force and
violence, to overthrow and subvert constituted governments and achieve ideological
dominance. A secondary hypothesis lies in the link between the Sunni salafist and
jihadist doctrine and the post Cold War ‘religious’ terrorist networks. However, what
kind of link: political or purely religious? We will try to identify Al-Qaeda ideology
as a very dangerous threat (in the long-term future).
All the research will have, as a background, the global resurgence of religion as a
political and strategic actor in International Relations, as a result of apparent failure of
other ideologies. This paper aims to found an analytical framework about the influence
of religious fundamentalism in political violence and terrorism, in a post-Cold War era.
European converts to Islam: An evolving threat?
Emmanuel Karagiannis
University of Macedonia (Greece)
As a relatively new phenomenon, European conversion to Islam is challenging to assess.
There is already evidence that Islamic terrorist networks are trying systematically to
recruit Caucasian men and women to handle terrorist logistics, because they would be
less likely to raise suspicion. Yet, most studies of this phenomenon fail to address its
root causes of their radicalization. The security implications of conversions to Islam
in Europe have helped ensure that the topic has quickly become a thriving area of
research. Not surprisingly, European security services have grown especially concerned
about this phenomenon. It is rare, however, that the insights of intelligence analysts
are published. The result is that a considerable amount of knowledge has been confined
partly or wholly to the realm of closed intelligence analysis, with negative consequences
for the scholarly and policy work being done on Muslim converts and their radicalization.
The paper will rely on primary sources; it aims at providing new research to
understand the radicalization of Muslim converts in European countries such as the
UK, France and Greece. It will seek to deal with the following research concerns and
issues: what are the salient social and personal characteristics of Muslim converts,
e.g. age, gender, educational profile, family attachment profile? What are the mecha-
nisms of their radicalization at individual and group levels? How do radical, but
peaceful, converts differ from other converts who join terrorist groups? How do
converts view jihad? European converts to Islam present a particularly difficult chal-
lenge to US and European policymakers, since they may join radical Islamic groups
and participate in terrorist plots. Western governments must carefully choose strate-
gies and policies for dealing with European converts, if they are to avoid a security
threat to regional stability.
Moral panics and the strategy of exclusion 1974
Jo Doody
University of Ulster (Northern Ireland)
This paper proposes that the political violence experienced in the UK in 1974 was
defined primarily as a threat to the hegemonic status of the state. The threat posed to
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44 2009 CICA-STR International Conference
national security questioned the existing social arrangements in place. By defining the
threat as a hegemonic crisis, the inevitable solution could only be an increase in social
control and in this case was introduced through the strategy of exclusion. Faced with
a lack of consent and legitimacy for its political-economic strategies in Northern
Ireland, the Government in 1974 set about manufacturing the consent it needed
through the politics of fear and repression and the Prevention of Terrorism Act.
This paper will explain why, given the initial definition and identification of a
hegemonic crisis, no other outcome was deemed possible. It will then piece together
the process by which exclusion came about. It will complicate the notion of exclusion
with concepts of legitimization and rationalization. Drawing on labelling theory and
the concept of moral panic in particular, it will piece together how the panic was
constructed and how the diminution of civil rights was legitimated. The ‘othering’ of
the Irish population will be described before exploring the institutionalization of this
process. The political, individual and long-term impact of the strategy will also be
explored with a view to raising questions for the current approach to the war on
RUC GC – demons or altruistic mortals?
Gavin Boyd
University of Ulster (Northern Ireland)
To sustain politically motivated conflict groups that favour physical force as the
means to bring about political change the groups must maintain and develop a level of
support amongst the community they claim to represent. Such support could include
storing weapons, hiding activists or refusing to provide information to the security
forces. The physical force groups may describe their activities as a struggle for liber-
ation or a righting of an injustice to justify their actions, but what is the legacy of these
justifications in a post conflict situation? If not properly managed, the physical force
group may be successful in creating a strong myth that can become an established
‘fact’. There is a danger that others will unquestioningly accept this established ‘fact’
and take it as their starting point for future activity.
Since 1998 some myths have persisted and are being reused by dissident republi-
cans to justify the continuance of violence in pursuit of a United Ireland. Further-
more, some reports from quasi-state agencies, such as the Police Ombudsman for
Northern Ireland, can unintentionally offer such support through ignoring the context
of policing ‘The Troubles’. Additionally, the dilemma of intelligence together with
the mythmaker’s continuance of clinging to their myth some 10 years on in order to
maintain cohesiveness of their movement compounds this process. This paper exam-
ines the context of policing ‘The Troubles’ and the intelligence dilemma to explore
the role and influence of RUCGC Special Branch in combating terrorism in Northern
The future of preventive wars: The case of Iraq
Onder Bakircioglu
Queen’s University Belfast (Northern Ireland)
Following the ‘terrorist’ attacks of 11 September 2001, the 2002 US National Secu-
rity Strategy made it clear that the United States would act, if necessary, unilaterally
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Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression 45
to protect its security against ‘emerging threats before they are fully formed’. In so
doing President Bush’s administration has put forward a broader understanding of
self-defence, one that diminishes the traditional role of the imminence requirement,
making it relevant only to the establishment of necessity. The rationale underlying
this new security strategy has been based on the assumption that modern warfare and
recent innovations in weapons of mass destruction – which may readily be employed
by ‘rogue States’ and ‘terrorists’ – have changed the whole calculus of self-defence.
The reasoning would be that, since warfare is now much more devastating and can
occur with less warning, it is unrealistic to depend on the traditional imminence rule
of self-defence; namely to await the occurrence or the threat of an imminent ‘armed
attack’ before resorting to defensive force.
It has been more than five years since Saddam Hussein’s regime was toppled on
account of its alleged ties with Al-Qaeda and possession of Weapons of Mass Destruc-
tion. Although these allegations were soon proved to be baseless, the occupation of
Iraq continues within the context of ‘war on terror’, which so far has neither provided
more security nor uprooted ‘global terrorism’. In contrast, Bin Laden’s terrorism
network is strongly rebuilding in Afghanistan and in the Pakistani tribal areas. It
seems increasingly clear that the Bush administration’s seven years of anti-terror
campaign will bequeath a legacy of two failed wars accompanied by numerous
unresolved issues.
This paper will discuss whether or not the doctrine of preventive war, the so-called
Bush Doctrine, has the potential to affect the United Nations’ collective security
scheme by creating a customary precedence for other States to follow. It will analyse
the legal arguments propounded to justify warfare against Iraq and discuss whether
preventive war policies against non-tangible threats have a future within the United
Nations collective security system. The paper will attempt to underline that a durable
international society cannot rest on exceptionalism exercised by hegemonic powers;
rather the interests of the weak nations must be met to sustain international peace and
Participants: Marie Breen-Smyth
Ayla Göel
Charlotte Heath-Kelly
Richard Jackson
Recent scholarship on political violence and the use of ‘terror’ has posited develop-
ments since 2001 as ‘new terrorism’, sidelining lessons drawn from earlier experience
of political violence dating back to the 1960s and 1970s and beyond. This panel
presents four papers which jointly argue the need for a revisiting of the field, drawing
lessons from past policy and practice, and re-examining the theoretical underpinnings
of contemporary studies, both orthodox and critical. The panel includes papers which
re-examine the terminology and ontological and epistemological underpinnings of a
critical approach, the normative agenda of terrorism studies and papers which draw
lessons from specific cases, namely the Irish, British Muslims and the Kurds in
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Critical terrorism studies: An explanation, a defence and a way forward
Richard Jackson
Aberystwyth University (Wales)
The aims of this paper are to introduce and explain the core commitments and dimen-
sions of the critical terrorism studies (CTS) approach, to defend the retention of the
term ‘terrorism’, and to briefly outline a future research agenda. To this end, the paper
is divided into three sections. In the first section, I contextualize the rise of CTS and
outline its central ontological, epistemological, methodological and praxiological
commitments, arguing that it is more than simply a call for better research on terror-
ism; rather, CTS offers a new way of understanding and researching terrorism. The
second section focuses on the particular problem posed by the term ‘terrorism’ and
argues that there are reasons for, and ways of, retaining the term without compromis-
ing the broader intellectual and/or emancipatory project. In addition, it explores some
of the common misperceptions about the definition of terrorism and proposes a solu-
tion to these issues. In the final section, I outline some of the key challenges and
dangers facing CTS. I suggest some key ways of avoiding these dangers and outline a
future research agenda.
Imagining futures within critical terrorism studies
Charlotte Heath-Kelly
Aberystwyth University (Wales)
This paper problematizes the use of Frankfurt School Critical Theory within Critical
Terrorism Studies (CTS), while remaining positive about the renewed academic vigour
that the CTS project has brought to the study of political violence within International
Relations. Considering the explicitly normative emancipatory agenda of CTS, and its
intention to assist the coming of an imagined future, the paper addresses questions
about the construction of valid ethical claims within the open-ended Critical project.
Do valid moral claims require a specified addressee and intended alternative order to
be constituted as such? Does subscription to the Frankfurt School’s manifesto toward
freeing human beings from unnecessary structures and effects of domination without
the attendant Marxist commitments empty any normative project of meaning? The
paper then considers the instrumental value of such a normative stance within Terror-
ism Studies (as a sub-set of International Relations). In addition to challenging the co-
option of research communities involved in traditional terrorism study, it is argued that
such a normative stance creates a focal point for disparate researchers marginalized by
the assumptions and tendencies of the existing field, thus acting as a ‘righting’ force
directed at traditional terrorism studies. Whether ontologically sound or not, it is
argued that the adoption of Critical Theory by CTS serves instrumental purposes for
a counter-hegemonic trend within Terrorism Studies. This does not damage the CTS
project, however, since within both traditional and Critical projects alike, ‘all theory
is for someone and for some purpose’ (Cox 1981: 128).
Critical ‘terrorism’ studies and counter-terrorism: The case of ‘suspect commu-
Marie Breen-Smyth
Aberystwyth University (Wales)
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Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression 47
This paper begins by briefly setting out the conceptual framework upon which the
recent critical turn in ‘terrorism’ studies is based. The sub-field of critical terrorism
studies (CTS) derives in part from the Welsh School’s assertion of the individual, not
the state, as the ultimate referent in accounts of ‘security’. The threat posed by terror-
ism is thus redefined in terms of its impact on the security of citizens rather than
primarily on the security of the state. Furthermore, ‘terrorism’ is seen as a tactic that
may be employed by both state and non-state actors and CTS challenges the notion of
counter-terrorism, which often contributes to the proliferation of that which it sets out
to counter, and argues for more effort to be devoted to finding non-coercive
measures. The paper then illustrates the critical approach by revisiting Hillyard’s
definition of a ‘suspect community’ as applied to the experience of the Irish commu-
nity in the late twentieth century, by drawing parallels with the contemporary experi-
ence of Muslims in Britain. Using autoethnographical (and other) methods to chart
the key feature of the suspect community experience, the paper argues that suspect
communities are existential communities, defined in and by the fearful public imagi-
nation. The paper explores the role of the suspect community as the embodiment of
the imagined threat to the security of the state and its populace and a container for
that threat, whilst it is the security of that ‘suspect community’ itself is eroded by its
suspect status, through the securitizing practices of the state. The paper concludes by
pointing to the counter-productive nature of such state securitization practices in
terms of the ‘battle for hearts and minds’ and consequent exacerbation of security
A critical re-thinking of political violence and ethnic nationalism: The case of the
Kurds in Turkey
Ayls Göel
Aberystwyth University (Wales)
This paper explores the value of critical terrorism studies (CTS) in understanding
the resurgence of political violence and ethno-nationalism in the Middle East, with
a particular reference to the case of Kurds in Turkey. Based on the research
agenda of the CST, the paper problematizes the shortcomings of orthodox ‘terror-
ism’ studies on three issues: first, an ahistorical approach to understanding Kurd-
ish nationalism is necessarily incomplete; hence, the resurgence of the PKK
‘terrorism’ needs to be historicized and contextualized. The paper identifies the
historical origins of the Kurdish issue in the regional context that constituted
Kurds as a stateless nation of the Middle East. Second, it emphasizes the impor-
tance of differentiating nationalist motivations from religious ones, thus also chal-
lenging another misconception of understanding Islam and nationalism within an
uncritical approach to ‘terrorism’. Third, the paper engages with the local,
national, regional and international levels of the Kurdish nationalism through the
lens of social movement theory, considering socio-historical and political struc-
tures and the construction of identities. It examines why and how the rise of the
PKK contributed to the resurgence of political violence that led to state repression
of cultural rights and the counter-productive policies of the Turkish state security
practices in the region. It concludes by questioning the significance of means other
than the use of political violence in the search of a solution for the future of Kurds
in the Middle East and Turkey.
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Convenors: Nicole Tausch and Rim Saab (Cardiff University)
Participants: Rim Saab
Russell Spears
Nicole Tausch
Latent public support for political violence plays a vital role in the intractability of
intergroup conflict. This symposium pulls together a panel of senior and junior
scholars to examine psychological and structural processes that underlie support for
political violence in a variety of contexts. First, using data from a representative
sample of British Muslims, Tausch will examine the roles of religious and national
identity as predictors of the extent to which the 7/7 London bombings were viewed as
justified and discuss the importance of social context and intergroup contact as vari-
ables that determine the strength of identity. Second, Schmid will demonstrate the
importance of different types of threat surrounding ethno-religious identity in the
context of support for political violence among Catholics and Protestants drawn from
mixed and segregated areas in Northern Ireland. Third, Spears will explore how a
sense of hopelessness and helplessness associated with the social position of one’s
group may promote support for and engagement in more radical and violent inter-
group behaviour. Fourth, Saab will examine the importance of the perceived efficacy
of both violent and non-violent action strategies in predicting British respondents’
support for the use of violent vs non-violent means of resistance in the Israeli-
Palestinian context. A discussion session led by the chairs will address the implica-
tions of the presented research and identify important directions for future research.
Religious and national identity as predicators of support for political violence
among British Muslims: An analysis of UK opinion poll data
Nicole Tausch and Russell Spears
Cardiff University (Wales)
Oliver Christ
University of Marburg (Germany)
Using data from a 2006 opinion survey of British Muslims (N = 1000), this study
examined the role of importance of Muslim and British identity as proximal predictors
of whether respondents viewed the 2005 London bombings as justified. We further
explore the extent to which religious and national identity and support for terrorism
are predicted by context (the concentration of Muslims in the area) and contact
experiences with non-Muslims. The role of these variables is assessed over and above
relevant demographic variables (gender, age and socio-economic status). Structural
equation modelling revealed that, while there was no significant relationship between
Muslim identity and support for the attacks, British identity was significantly nega-
tively related to support. Having contact with non-Muslims was positively related to
importance of British identity, negatively to importance of Muslim identity, and also
directly predicted reduced support for the attacks. The concentration of Muslims in the
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Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression 49
area was positively related to the importance of Muslim identity and negatively to
contact with non-Muslims. These findings are discussed in relation to recent efforts to
integrate Muslims more into British society.
Socio-structural factors in extremism and terrorism
Russell Spears and Nicole Tausch
Cardiff University (Wales)
Much research and theorizing rightly focuses on the role of ideology and threats to
identity as precursors and predictors of terrorism. However support for or engagement
in such extreme behaviour is often also accompanied by a sense of hopelessness and
helplessness associated with the social position of one’s group, which contributes to
the conviction that violence and terror is the only effective route. We examine the
evidence, in the laboratory as well as the field, that conditions that promote a sense of
helplessness, and reduced voice, can increase support for more extreme and even
violent courses of action. These include low power, low group efficacy and low status
for one’s group, especially when these conditions are seen as stable and unchanging.
These conditions promote support for and engagement in more radical, conflictual and
violent behaviour, reflecting a strategy that we call ‘nothing to lose’. This research
challenges mainstream research on intergroup relations in social psychology, such as
social identity theory, which predicts that attempts to resist disadvantaged status
become most likely when a disadvantaged group position seems to be unstable and
therefore changeable. We propose that the social psychology of terrorism may there-
fore require different theory and principles to the mainstream intergroup literature to
explain the emergence of such extreme and violent acts.
Third-party support for violent resistance against Israel
Rim Saab, Russell Spears and Nicole Tausch
Cardiff University (Wales)
Resistance against occupation and oppression can be violent, non-violent or a combi-
nation of both. Engaging in any one type of resistance, however, typically requires the
support of the larger population from which militants are recruited, as well as support
by some third-party/bystander groups. It is therefore important to examine the social–
psychological determinants of popular support for different types of resistance
strategies. The present research explores variations in support for violent as well as non-
violent strategies in response to their perceived efficacy. In particular, we look at the
interaction between the perceived efficacy of violent resistance and that of non-violent
resistance in predicting support for each strategy. Using both survey and experimental
data we examine British respondents’ support for the use of violent vs non-violent means
of resistance in the Israeli-Palestinian context. We test the assumption that support for
violence rises in response to the perceived effectiveness of violence and the lack of effec-
tive non-violent alternatives. We also test the assumption that approval of extreme forms
of violent resistance (e.g. attacks on civilians) rise in response to situations perceived
as illegitimate and hopeless, that is, where neither violence nor non-violence seem to
work. The emotional mediators linking injustice and effectiveness perceptions to
support for violent and non-violent resistance strategies are also explored.
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‘Ancestry of resistance’: The political use of commemoration by Ulster Loyalists
and Irish Republicans in a post-conflict setting
Kris Brown
University of Ulster (Northern Ireland)
Tropes and themes of past political violence continue to circulate in Northern Ireland,
and in doing so serve a contemporary political purpose. Both Loyalists and Republi-
cans have engaged in the memorialization of their dead in the course of the recent
conflict. While memorialization often represents personal mourning, the focus of this
paper represents the use of remembrance in terms of Republicanism and Loyalism as
political projects. This process of commemoration did not slow with the advent of the
Northern Ireland peace process, but instead accelerated. Numerous wall plaques,
commemorative murals, exhibitions and gardens of remembrance dedicated to Repub-
licans and Loyalists, have mushroomed in the last decade, and the sheer number of
memory sites is formidable. Commemoration is thus a most important public activity
for Loyalist and Republican groups. These memory sites serve not simply as graphic
reminders of Republican or Loyalist presence on the streets, but also act as focal points
for ritual displays and parades. These ritual commemorative events are commonplace,
and form a complex local calendar of socio-political activity, but remain relatively un-
investigated, and receive only fitful attention in the mainstream local media.
The research paper will compare Ulster Loyalist and Irish Republican uses of
commemoration, and examine how, in remembering their recent paramilitary dead
and connecting these to past conflicts, they are engaging in a diligent demonstration
of political continuity and historical legitimacy aimed at creating ‘master narratives’.
In a post conflict setting, this has been of particular importance in reassuring doubters
and deflecting political attacks. The paper will examine how Irish Republicans and
Ulster Loyalists use memory work to assist the maintenance of social cohesion with
the host community, to facilitate the ‘rededication’ and ‘reinvigoration’ of their
political project, and counter-intuitively, to transform it as well. The paper will
demonstrate that memory work by perceived ‘ultras’ can act as a steadying ballast, and
not as a hindrance, in conflict transformation.
This research is based on extensive participant observation of Republican and
Loyalist commemorative activity, studies of their memorial material culture, includ-
ing museums and selected interviews with Republicans and Loyalists engaged in
commemorative activity. The paper will be accompanied by power point slides show-
ing the ritual activity and visual culture associated with these forms of memory work.
Untold stories: Unionist remembrance of political violence and suffering in
Northern Ireland
Kirk Simpson
University of Ulster (Northern Ireland)
One of the core socio-political and cultural aspects of unionist discourse in Northern
Ireland is the need to foster and protect a sense of legitimate grievance in respect of
the killings and injuries of innocent Protestant civilians by the Provisional Irish Repub-
lican Army during the conflict of 1969–1998. This paper uses illustrative examples to
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Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression 51
analyse the ways in which unionists narrate, remember and attempt to politicize suffering
in contemporary post-conflict Northern Ireland. Based on extensive and original ethno-
graphic research, it illuminates the ways in which many unionists feel that the stories
of those in their community who were assassinated or attacked by Irish republican para-
militaries have remained untold, silenced by their political opponents, and ignored by
both their fellow British citizens and successive British administrations. Unless the issue
of unionist victimhood is handled sensitively, this will present a significant impediment
to the prospects for effectively dealing with the past in Northern Ireland.
Redefining collective aggression: Memory and the role of Irish America in the
Northern Ireland Peace Process
Martin Russell
University College Dublin (Ireland)
The interplay of political violence and collective aggression is dependent on a wide
range of cultural processes. These vary from the symbolic act of violence to the recep-
tion of such acts in the public domain. This paper will argue that the mediation of polit-
ical violence in Irish-America during the Northern Ireland peace process represents a
paradigm which illustrates a cultural transformation of the relationship between polit-
ical violence and collective aggression. It will focus on the politics of memory as the
foundational process in this transformation. The paper will be focused on defining and
assessing the cultural processes within memory which facilitated such transformations.
This will include an assessment of how the past is interpreted in order to facilitate future
change. Such analysis will be based on key theoretical concerns such as rhetoric. It
will examine how the evolution of strategic approaches to political violence in Northern
Ireland enabled Irish America to redefine collective aggression into a diplomatic model.
It is in this context that the paper will examine the shifting relationship between the
individual and collective. It will underpin earlier analysis in a detailed assessment of
how Irish-America became a collective entity, and subsequently operated in the North-
ern Ireland peace process. Given recent events in Northern Ireland and the rise of para-
military activity, the presentation will offer a comparative context to the role of memory
in the Northern Ireland peace process and the role of memory in the current climate.
The paper will conclude with a commentary focusing on the lessons which can be
learned from the cultural transformation of political violence and collective aggression
due to the role of memory and Irish-America in the Northern Ireland peace process,
and how these lessons have ultimately redefined collective aggression.
Terrorist de-radicalization as peacemaking: A theoretical evaluation of terrorist
de-radicalization in Southeast Asia
Joshua Hill and Daniel Mabrey
Sam Houston State University (United States)
Approaches to stopping terrorism have ranged from direct military engagement to
incorporating extremist groups into national politics. One of the more recent
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approaches however, has been the attempt to de-radicalize terrorists, specifically
Islamic extremists, through discussion with respected clerics from their own tradition.
While the approach has had qualified success, it still lacks a significant theoretical
backing. This paper examines terrorist de-radicalization through the lens of peace-
making criminology, arguing that de-radicalization can be enhanced through the
explicit adoption of the peacemaking approach. It focuses on several terrorist de-
radicalization programmes currently underway in Southeast Asia. Application of the
approach is considered in other contexts and ways forward are recommended.
The politics of reconciliation for Rwanda and the ICTR
Eugene McNamee
University of Ulster (Northern Ireland)
For most commentators on the Rwandan genocide, the International Criminal Tribu-
nal for Rwanda (ICTR) process merits little more than passing comment. For most
legal commentators the processes of the ICTR are looked at in isolation from the
specific context of the genocide in Rwanda, the events being seen as already
‘captured’ by law because of the existence of the 1948 Genocide Convention. Yet the
idea of ‘reconciliation’ which lies at the heart of the justification for the legal process
is specifically political, and has a contemporary resonance now which did not exist in
1948. Had this notion of reconciliation following justice remained as simply an
expression of hope, there would be little to argue with in prosecuting crimes with that
sentiment. Reading many of the documents that relate to the Tribunal, however, it is
striking how prominent is the notion of reconciliation, to the extent that the goal of
reconciliation seems to be leading the process rather than (hopefully) following
criminal justice.
This paper proceeds on the basis that, to assess the value of the ICTR, a certain
degree of inter-disciplinarity between law, history and politics is necessary. One result
of this is to allow for more specific attention to the particular features of the Rwandan
genocide and for a critique of the processes of the ICTR on this basis. A second is to
allow for critical attention to the development of international criminal law on the
basis of the more general question of whether a ‘one size fits all’ approach is really
the most productive approach for the future, or whether all such future legal processes
will have to be tailored to the circumstances which give rise to them; in short that the
future of international law lies in recognizing its own political nature.
The public and private experience of violence and women’s exclusion in post-
conflict Timor–Leste
Aisling Swaine
University of Ulster (Northern Ireland)
Timor–Leste, a newly independent state, is grappling with the legacy of a complex
and extended history of multiple episodes of political violence and occupation. Colo-
nization by the Portuguese took place in the sixteenth century, followed by a brief
period of Japanese occupation during World War II. An unplanned and hasty with-
drawal by the Portuguese in 1974 resulted in a period of intra-Timorese political
conflict and a declaration of independence. Indonesia attacked and annexed the half-
island in 1975 and that occupation was characterized by the torture and brutality of
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Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression 53
the Timorese population, and sparked a 25 year organized armed Timorese resistance.
The withdrawal of Indonesian troops from Timor–Leste, following a referendum
resulting in independence in 1999, involved a violent and protracted process. Indone-
sian tactics included a scorched earth campaign, the kidnapping of women for sexual
abuse and slavery, mass killing and forced movement of communities and terroriza-
tion of the displaced within camps in West Timor by Indonesia’s proxy Timorese
Throughout these phases of occupation and violence, Timorese women were
targeted for specific abuses, particularly in 1999, while they also organized and played
a central role in the success of the resistance movement. A deeply rooted patriarchal
Timorese social–cultural system, combined with the imposition of international
models of transition post-1999, resulted in the suppression of women’s concerns
within the agenda of the resistance movement, a lack of recognition of women’s pivotal
role during the occupations and questionable attention to gender issues within the
structures employed during transition to deal with the abuses of the past. More
recently, the women’s movement has focused on influencing and shaping a present and
future that overcomes the legacies of the past. This paper will provide an overview of
women’s experience of both public and private forms of violence in the Timorese
conflict and post-conflict context. It will then examine whether the transitional justice
processes employed in Timor–Leste have adequately addressed women’s interests and
supported women to play a role in constructing the future or whether the exclusion of
women’s concerns has continued and been perpetuated within the transition context.
Poppies and terrorism: In search of effective policies for conflict de-escalation
and resolution in Afghanistan
Saideh Lotfian
University of Tehran (Iran)
The twin goals of the paper are to discuss the underlying causes of the protracted conflict
in Afghanistan, and to recommend policies for its termination. The author raises four
questions about this destabilizing conflict: What are the socio-economic factors influ-
encing Afghan political violence? Could Taliban extremism be stopped? To what extent
have the external actors contributed to the conflict in Afghanistan? How can we bring
peace to this war-torn country? The main conclusion is that the failure to contain the
spread of violence and terrorism in this region will have far-reaching security impli-
cations for the rest of the world. Sustainable peace in Afghanistan could be achieved
by eliminating the economic causes of conflict and ensuring political justice.
Should the barriers come down?
Jonny Byrne
University of Ulster (Northern Ireland)
Physical barriers such as walls and fences have been employed by countries locally
and internationally primarily as a response to communal violence and disorder, threats
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of terrorism, drug smuggling and immigration for thousands of years. Belfast will be
the central focus of this paper, a city which has long been synonymous with walls and
barricades as a direct consequence of the ‘Troubles’. Originally, the barricades or
Peacelines, as they are more frequently referred to, were first constructed in 1969 as
a response to increased community and political violence. They have multiplied in
number over the years, with paradoxically a significant number being introduced after
the paramilitary ceasefires and political agreements. The most recent was constructed
in an integrated primary school in 2008. It seems the Peacelines have become part of
the normal and accepted range of public policy and security interventions which can
be considered as a response to communal violence and disorder in Northern Ireland
Although Northern Ireland has undergone significant social, economic and politi-
cal changes in the last decade, the continued existence of the physical lines of demar-
cation illustrates the fact that segregation continues and relationships are defined by
insecurity, threat and anxiety. Therefore, what if anything should become of the
Peacelines? This paper will examine whether they serve to perpetuate and entrench
cultural identities and traditions, and prevent the final resolution of the conflict, or
whether they are an inevitable price of the conflict, mechanisms of security and safety
that have become normalized within local environments and indirectly facilitate an
acceptance of non-engagement and continued segregation. One must understand the
context and role of the Peacelines now, so as to determine the processes required and
techniques to employ if the conversation around their transformation, regeneration
and, dare I say it, ‘possible removal’, is to begin.
Interface areas in Belfast: Community empowerment as a method of moving
away from violence and disorder
Brénainn Brunton
University of Ulster (Northern Ireland)
The political boundaries that separate communities in Belfast appear in both physical
and mental forms. These boundaries create interfaces where the edges of the two
communities meet. The physical barriers are situated in the most violent areas for the
protection of both sides (Catholic and Protestant) and are designed to quell ethno-
sectarian attitudes and practices. However this is often not the case. Shirlow and
Murtagh describe interfaces as, ‘sites that become the most notable places of violence
and resistance’ (2006: 58). These so-called ‘peace lines’ are anything but peaceful, and
the wall itself often becomes the spatial representation of the ethnic-other, a culturally
opposed immediate community. Intolerance, fear and mistrust fan the flames of ethno-
sectarianism and this, fused with the ethos of masculinity, frames the marking of
political boundaries in interface areas. This politicizing of space feeds the fears held
by communities and can lead to more segregated living spaces and, as neither side
wants to be seen to concede any ground, aggressive and violent behaviour may be
tolerated and even justified as ‘defending our area’.
This study examines the role territoriality plays in maintaining segregation in
Belfast and the many different factors that enable and encourage a territorial mindset
in divided communities. Recent intra-community and inter-community initiatives in
interface areas are examined, to identify where possible progress could be made in
breaking down both physical and mental barriers that maintain the division and enable
the violence and disorder to occur. The interface area of Suffolk and Lenadoon, in
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Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression 55
South West Belfast, has been used as a case study, with the Suffolk and Lenadoon
Interface Group’s (SLIG) role in regenerating an interface area both socially and
economically discussed. The groups are supported and advised by an organization
outside of government, called Atlantic Philanthropies, which makes them and their
situation unique. The group’s cross-community work, encompassing shared space,
shared facilities and shared activities, is examined. The research explores the effec-
tiveness of community empowerment in an interface community, through working
under this less restrictive setting, as a process for breaking down mechanisms of
territoriality, and moving away from violence and disorder.
Facebook: Facing back or facing forward? Northern Irish interface groups and
Web 2.0
Paul Reilly
University of Glasgow (Scotland)
Cyber enthusiasts as far back as Giddens in 1995) have suggested that information and
communication technologies (ICTs) might facilitate a positive spiral of communica-
tion between rival ethnic communities, thus ameliorating social conflict. Authors such
as Dahlgren and Wellman assert that Internet forms of communication may create
arenas for public debate that are not present in the real world. However, a more scep-
tical view of the dialogic potential of the Internet is provided by Chadwick, who asserts
that the Internet is both ‘increasing and decreasing social capital and opportunities for
political participation’ (2006, p. 112). Recent ICT developments, collectively dubbed
Web 2.0, have aroused renewed interest in this suggestion in the light of their emphasis
on user-generated content. O’Reilly characterizes Web 2.0 as a Habermasian public
sphere in which ‘bottom-up’ communication is facilitated by both blogs and social
networking websites. Drezner and Farrell argue that the network structure of the blog-
osphere allows interesting ideas to ‘bubble up’ to focal point blogs. Conversely,
authors such as Froomkin and Sunstein suggest that blogs may accelerate existing
trends of cyberbalkanization, with bloggers likely to read the opinions of like-minded
activists and little else. The paper presents an analysis of both the framing and func-
tionality of Web 2.0 pages dedicated to interface communities in Northern Ireland. It
will analyse whether young people who live in close proximity to sectarian interfaces
are using Web 2.0 to inform both their political decision-making and their opinions of
the ‘other’ community. The study will also determine whether the ‘competition of
victimhood’ visible on the websites of residents’ groups is replicated on Web 2.0. The
study will analyse how interface conflict is represented on the social networking
profiles of people who live in close proximity to sectarian interfaces, and those of their
supporters. In doing so, this paper represents the first empirical research into how Web
2.0 shapes politics during a period of conflict transformation.
Masking visual persistence in media warfare: Digitality, icon value and iconic
Steven John Thompson
Clemson University (United States)
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While subliminal messaging is most consciously eschewed in the advertising industry
as an unethical manipulation, the process has always been an integral covert operation
of warfare. Through the speed of instantaneity and exponential strength, digital media
messages are an ideal communication medium for masking during times of war. Ethi-
cal considerations regarding appropriateness of masking global media messages are
daring, yet it is reality that every terrorist message is designed to impact the cognitive
receiver, as a weapon raises the bar for calculated alternative response, deliberately
designing a method for abatement of audience impact.
Inherent rhetorical ambiguities of mediated singular terrorist constructs are multi-
faceted: there is the message for sympathizers, the message for the terrified and the
overall global message of the event as terrorism. Since these are destructive devices
which render a terrorist message a media event – and the moment is ubiquitously
carried across digital channels at the speed of light, mechanically reproduced without
exhaustion, and ultimately stored in collective memory – iconic memory may have a
more advanced role in this process than expected.
While Sperling’s initial experiment variables are problematic partly because of their
unnatural laboratory environment, they lack an additional critical variable today: that
of importance for icon value. Iconic memory moments or visual persistence – especially
when content is immediately perceived as having deep, revered meaning or may border
on personally absorbed offence or injustice – may somehow evolve iconic storage or
trigger sensory mechanisms that allow for rapid identification and immediate transfer
to permanent storage.
This research suggests a new value for the icon as digital, considers strategies for
masks possibly terminating the icon, and discusses iconic storage phenomena. It
proposes practical ethical logistics that global media may use to leverage psychosocial
impact of terrorist messaging for intended audiences.
The gendered nature of collective aggression in female-authored drama of ‘trou-
bles’ inspired drama
Brenda Liddy
Northern Regional College (Northern Ireland)
Few modern wars have lasted as long as the tit for tat Troubles that plagued Northern
Ireland for over 30 years. This mayhem became immediate material for poetry: Frank
Ormsby decried ‘door-step murders’ as a ‘a way of life’; Ciaran Carson rejected the
horror of being spread-eagled against a wall and cross questioned in the place he
called ‘home’. The besieged population even welcomed the translation of their expe-
riences into poetry. The Wearing of the Black, a volume about the Troubles by Padraic
Fiacc, became a best seller in the early 1970s, a rare fate for poetry anywhere. The
poets, however, did not find their gift, were not galvanized into writing, as a result of
the violence. Mostly they had been writing before a shot was fired.
Rather it was drama that ushered in new voices that would probably otherwise
have remained mute, that enticed untried and untested laity to have a go at re-enacting
before an audience the weird world that had closed in all around them. Christina Reid,
Marie Jones and Anne Devlin hit on bombings, bereavements, revenge, midnight
house searches, as the stuff of theatre. They set about portraying on stage the endemic
domestic and community repercussions that were the underside of the debacle. They
highlighted the unsung role women played in bringing a semblance of normality to a
highly abnormal situation.
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The curious thing was that, while terrorist incidents took place in pockets all over
the province, with epicentres in Derry, at first, and continuously in South Armagh, it
was Belfast that attracted the imaginations of these new authors, who found prolific
subject matter in its strife-torn loyalist and republican areas. Equally curious was the
pre-eminence of women among the playwrights. It has been said that, if all the
volumes written about the Northern Ireland situation were placed side by side, they
could reach right round the world, but most of these, even when written by journalists,
were produced by men, just as the poets too tended to be male. Marie Jones, Anne
Devlin and Christina Reid breached this male stranglehold, energetically honing into
an area that the spotlight had ignored: the domestic angst, the ruined relationships
resulting from the public fracas. Now they report, wryly and ironically, from the home
front. They advocate peace. The big departure is that their agenda is emphatically
Political memoir, biography and the memory of Loyalist paramilitary violence in
Northern Ireland
Stephen Hopkins
University of Leicester (England)
This paper will analyse the political memoirs and auto/biographical reflections of erst-
while loyalist paramilitaries in Northern Ireland during the Troubles (1960s–1990s),
in order to investigate their contemporary interpretations of the violent conflict, and
to interrogate their motivations both for the use of violence and the publication of their
memories of such violence. The argument of this paper is predicated on the belief that
Northern Ireland’s perceived movement towards a ‘post-conflict’ phase has given
fresh impetus to the long-established tradition of political auto/biography associated
with the historical development of Anglo-Irish relations. Many protagonists or ex-
protagonists of the ‘Troubles’ now feel the time is ripe to tell their ‘stories’ to a wider
public, to explain their motivations, and to try and shape the debate over the rights and
wrongs of the conflict.
There are a number of political and methodological issues involved in this recent
spate of publication, and this paper seeks to link the specific study of Loyalist/Protes-
tant auto/biographical writing, with broader themes concerning the debate over how
to remember or commemorate various aspects of the conflict. The paper analyses
Protestant Paramilitary reconstructions and representations of the conflict, as evinced
through recent auto/biographical writings. The authors/subjects that would be exam-
ined include Roy Garland’s biography of Gusty Spence (Blackstaff Press, 2001),
Henry Sinnerton’s biography of David Ervine (Brandon, 2002), Michael Stone’s auto-
biography (John Blake, 2003), David Lister and Hugh Jordan’s biography of Johnny
Adair (Mainstream, 2003) and Adair’s own autobiography (2007).
It is possible that (ex-) protagonists have used these publications to engage in self-
critical reappraisal of previous commitments and actions, but perhaps it is more likely
that writing in this genre and at this juncture is likely to involve a large measure of
self-justification. The auto/biographical design may well, in this event, represent a
proxy weapon in an ongoing ideological struggle. In interpreting political auto/
biography in the Northern Irish context, therefore, we need to be mindful of what Roy
Foster has described as ‘the deliberate gap in the narrative: the momentous elision, the
leap in the story’. Auto/biographical writing may have a significant role to play in
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contemporary political discourse in Northern Ireland, by providing an opportunity for
individual narratives to be told in their entirety, retaining their integrity. They may
also provide a symbolic, collective and communal element to this process of ‘truth-
telling’. However, as these examples of Loyalist/Protestant auto/biography demon-
strate, the lacunae or gaps that often characterize these stories make this process
complex and uncertain, especially where there is still no public consensus about the
essential causes of conflict.
The rebel chic: Dealing with terrorism in contemporary art
Sebastian Baden
University of Karlsruhe (Germany)
I will concentrate on some artistic statements that may serve as examples for memo-
rizing the history of late twentieth century international terrorism. Since Hans-Peter
Feldmann’s series ‘die Toten’ or Gerhard Richter’s painting series on the RAF in 1987,
terrorism can be seen as a constant issue in contemporary artworks. Continuing with
works like ‘dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y’ by Johan Grimonprez, a video produced for docu-
menta 10 (1997), and huge multimedia installations like the works by New York-based
Swiss artist Christoph Draeger, I would like to give an outline of how contemporary
art is concerned with the era of rebellion and third Avantgarde, that during the 1960s
aroused new questions of how art might have an influence on life – nevertheless.
Looking at artworks produced in the twenty-first century, the spectator is
confronted with statements of different character, and always has to ask which ethic
positions can be found in the artist’s perspective of looking at events which passed 30
years ago. For Example, Christoph Draeger offers in his installations ‘BLACK
SEPTEMBER’ (2003) or ‘black and white room – memories of terror from a safe
distance’ (2003) views on the events in Germany, starting with the kidnapping of
Israeli athletes in Munich in 1972 until the death of the main RAF terrorists in
Stuttgart-Stammheim in 1977. Discussing this way of constructing memory and monu-
ment at the same time, I will give a short remark on twenty-first century art-theory
discourse, concerning its artistic approach to the ‘aesthetics of terrorism’. As philoso-
pher Luca di Blasi notes, there is a strange connection between the modern avant-garde
of the early twentieth century and nascent twenty-first century’s terrorists’ attitudes.
Referring the Don DeLillo’s novel ‘Mao II’, the quote ‘What terrorists gain, novelists
lose’ argues that Avantgardes seem to be hindered terrorists and terrorists have taken
over the function which artists no longer fulfill. The symbolic effect of 9/11 is an end
to the era of neo-avant-garde; the claims of the surrealist Avantgarde and some simu-
lations brought forth by contemporary artists have become reality at its worst. What
Baudrillard has been calling ‘the Event’ did finally happen. On the other hand, as the
German Philosopher Peter Sloterdijk says, the representation of violence is never
neutral; the author will always be a part of it. When death becomes real, fear and fasci-
nation combine to become a perverse perfection that substitutes works of art. Never-
theless, artists are inspired by this sublime moment of certainty: perception is awful,
but safe. Thus, with respect to the events that happened 30 years ago in Germany and
now remembered in a broad range of articles and TV documentaries, I want to question
how far fine art today still has a value of memory in our culture or if it is not the rebel-
chic that makes the aesthetics take over the images of terrorist-strategies in order to
regain lost attention.
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The Independent State of Croatia (1941–1945) and terrorism: Croatian Usta [scaron]e
Anita Blagojevi [cacute]
University of J.J. Strossmayer in Osijek (Croatia)
The way the Usta [scaron]e (often spelled Ustashe in English; singular: Usta [scaron]a), Croatian
right-wing organization based on secrecy and rigorous discipline, imagined the Croat-
ian nation and the Croatian state has received little attention from research, perhaps
because it centred just on the Usta [scaron]a’s attemp to establish, for the first time in modern
history, an independent state, which is represented as the main Usta [scaron]a aim. The other
principal Usta [scaron]a aim, however, was to simultaneously remove the ethnic, racial and
religious minorities that the Usta [scaron]e concidered a threat to the organic unity of the
Croatian nation, including some Communist Croats. At the time of their founding in
1929, the Usta [scaron]e was a nationalist political organization that committed terrorist acts.
When they came to power in World War II, they had military formations (Usta [scaron]ka
vojnica/Usta [scaron]a Army) and they founded several concentration camps, the most noto-
rious of which was the Jasenovac complex. The basis for the system of political terror,
which included mass arrests, deportations and physical extermination of the Serbian,
Jewish and Roma minorities, was the legal provision for the defence of nation and
state from 17 April 1941.
Shadows of Communism: Legal and illegal, naked and symbolic – types of
violence used by military intelligence services in Poland
Anna Maria Grabowska and Mateusz Trawi [nacute]ski
Nicolas Copernicus University (Poland)
In 2006 the Polish army intelligence – Military Information Services (hereafter WSI)
– was liquidated. On 17 February 2007 president Lech Kaczy [nacute]ski, by revealing the
verification report, informed public opinion about actions taken by the WSI during its
existence between 1991 and 2006. The classical Weberian definition of state says that
it has a monopoly to use legal violence. Police, army and the secret service are insti-
tutions present in every modern state, both democratic and non-democratic, that have
the right to perform violence. WSI was not an exception here. The aim of our presen-
tation will be to show the influence of illegal violence used by the WSI on the Polish
economy, politics and society based on the revealed report and interviews with the
members of the Verification Commission and WSI soldiers.
The WSI case is important for at least three reasons: first, there are cases of the use
of naked violence by WSI agents that had a crucial impact on several spheres of social
life. Cases such as infiltrating political opposition that took place in the 1990s, illegal
weapons selling and the connections of some officers with the Polish mafia, are some
that should be investigated. Second, there are cases where WSI tried to make use of
symbolic violence by placing their agents in media as journalists and other employees.
The concept of symbolic violence is an important factor, as the media were very crit-
ical about the liquidation of WSI. This resulted in public scepticism of the liquidation
process. Third, the case of WSI shows not only the problems of the Polish secret
service. Many cases show that the process of institutionalization or functionalization
sˇ sˇ
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of pathologies in the field of secret service that took place in Poland is universal for
all post-communist countries in Eastern Europe.
Role of discourse in the perpetuation of political violence: The case of Spanish
Basque Country
Asta Maskaliunaite
Baltic Defence College (Estonia)
Envisioning a violent conflict one tends to think about the ‘physical’ aspects of the
issue, focusing on the powerful images of destruction, lost lives, chaos and mayhem.
However, what is often overlooked is that the language used to interpret such situa-
tions can play as important a role in perpetuation or ending the conflict, as these
images themselves. The Spanish Basque Country is a good example here. Sides
involved have completely different perceptions of what is at stake and a different
language to express them. For the Basque political forces, for example, there is a
political conflict resulting in violence. For the Spanish side, there is no conflict, but a
problem, which is violence.
These different understandings have roots in the fundamental disagreements over
the nature of the nation and the state. Rigid frames created around these concepts on
both sides make a communication between them very difficult and position the
discourse itself as one of the fundamental elements of a conflict. It is through
discourse that the ‘cultural violence’, as described by Galtung, takes place. It is thus
by analysing the discourse and the frames that are used to justify the killing, by anal-
ysing the resonance of these frames in some parts of the population, that the violent
conflict and its future can well be assessed.
Mobilizing activism: a comparative analysis of the contemporary right-wing
extremists and Islamists in Germany
Ali Hedayet
IMT Lucca (Italy)
My paper will look at the meso-level and focus on two extremist groups, the Islamist
movement and the Right Extremist movement in Germany. Separately, both have
been extensively investigated, but a comparative work is hard to find. My paper will
investigate which dynamics, mechanisms and mobilizing resources both movements
possess when recruiting and radicalizing young members.
Their common enemy perceptions find their roots in the fascist ideologies of the
twentieth century. In particular, these movements share a hatred of corrupt, pluralized,
globalized and cosmopolitan society. They share an idea of a utopian future with the
acceptance of, or even enthusiasm for, the caliphate or a dictatorship. Finally, a very
important common feature is a strong anti-Semitism.
Some of the young militant activists are well educated and come from a prosper-
ous background. Many others come from an isolated socio-cultural environment.
Especially among the latter, violence is regarded as a key to solidarity. During the
recruitment process, religious or national identities are instruments which are used to
shape a pattern of violence. This process usually takes place in Islamic student centers
or religious schools – ‘Madrasas’ – for the Islamist movements and in Kamerad-
schaften for the right extremists.
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Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression 61
Disintegrative theories are helpful to explain the social interactions of German
right extremists, but they describe less well thet dynamics, mechanisms and mobiliz-
ing resources characterizing both movements. One approach to the understanding of
both movements is the resource mobilizing theory, ‘RMT’. Its functional approach
includes militant dynamics, mobilizing processes and the internal organization.
Methodologically, my analysis is based on a qualitative comparative research,
involving documentary and discursive analyses to illustrate radicalization processes.
When possible, I will rely on qualitative interviews. I will also employ secondary
sources, existing literature and official documents from political and institutional
Waging war through non-violent means: Memorials and the perpetuation of
division in ethnic conflict
Sara McDowell
University of Ulster (Northern Ireland)
This paper considers the role that physical memorialization plays in perpetuating or
exacerbating ethnic conflict. It explores the ways in which paramilitary groups or
guerrilla organizations acting on (or professing to act on) behalf of minorities use non-
violent spatial practices such as memorialization to contest the territorial boundaries
of the ‘other’ and renegotiate their own. Within ethnic conflict where territory is
fiercely contested, memorialization has the specific capacity to extend the parameters
of conflict and division constituting a form of symbolic ideological warfare. As an
expression of territoriality, memory work orchestrated by such organizations is
employed to foster internal cohesion and demarcate boundaries of inclusion and
exclusion. While in itself memorialization is a non-violent practice, it can clearly cele-
brate violence and underscore claims to its legitimacy in the pursuit of political goals.
Drawing on examples from Northern Ireland, which has recently emerged from three
decades of conflict; Sri Lanka, which has of late returned to violence following six
years of a very volatile and tentative peace, and Israel–Palestine, which has entered
yet another round of peace negotiations, this paper works towards a more thorough
understanding of the materiality of conflict and the centrality of memory to ethnic
Strategic terrorism and signalling: implications of a strategic analysis of Loyalist
paramilitaries in Northern Ireland
Lyndsey Harris
Birmingham City University (England)
Approaches to the understanding of Loyalist paramilitaries in Northern Ireland
habitually originate from the sociological or psychological disciplines. Whilst these
methodologies have made significant steps in addressing the limited material avail-
able on the military dimension of the Northern Ireland conflict, there is a need for a
re-interpretation of Loyalist activity – one that employs a synthetic method. This
paper will draw from empirical data gathered from the author’s completed doctoral
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thesis entitled, ‘A strategic analysis of Loyalist paramilitaries in Northern Ireland’,
and offer an assessment of the campaign of strategic terrorism by Loyalist terrorist
organizations. Specifically, this paper will outline the importance of understanding
the value systems of any terrorist organization, highlighting the implications for
successful post-conflict strategies.
They still haven’t gone away you know: Paramilitaries, ‘policing’ and the PSNI
John Topping and Rachel Monaghan
University of Ulster (Northern Ireland)
As an enduring legacy of the conflict, paramilitary policing remains a fact of Northern
Ireland’s post-conflict landscape. While much attention has been devoted to the
causes and consequences of paramilitarism, virtually no consideration has been given
to the influence of such non-state policing upon the Police Service of Northern Ireland
(PSNI). This paper will assess the impact of paramilitarism on the PSNI in terms of
working with, and delivering a community-oriented service within, Loyalist and
Republican communities. Furthermore, the paper will explore some of the alternative
modes of non-state security governance and the legitimating factors which perpetuate
this parallel policing provision. Finally, it will be argued that, as a unique feature of
the conflict, the ‘otherness’ to security provision in the country, where legitimate and
compliant with the rule of law, is an opportunity to be embraced in line with the Patten
Report’s vision of policing more broadly conceived.
Flagging peace
Gordon Gillespie
Queen’s University Belfast (Northern Ireland)
Northern Ireland has been subject to a peace process since the early 1990s, culminat-
ing in the signing of the Multi-party Agreement in 1998. The agreement was an
attempt, using a broadly consociational model, to manage the relationship between the
Catholic/Nationalist Protestant/Unionist ethno-political communities. Throughout this
process it has been recognized that the management of space, ‘territory’, is a key
element of community relations. This paper explores the management of public space
through symbols and rituals in a context where mutually exclusive claims previously
predominated. The paper will concentrate specifically upon the use of flags to demar-
cate public space. It will utilize three years of survey research to explore how flags
have been used to sustain elements of territorial control and the consequent responses
by the state.
Terrorized into terrorist: The psychology, theology and politics of violence
Rona M. Fields
Consultant and Clinical Psychologist (United States)
Societies and the individuals that comprise them engage in violence – of which terror-
ism is one manifestation when segments of the population are marginalized and
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Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression 63
oppressed. Subsequently replacing extra-judiciary systems with the rule of law may
put an end to or diminish terrorism per se. However, it does not treat and rehabilitate
the individuals who are the political actors. There are many different paradigms and
cultural manifestations of the unjust society that erupt into terrorism but, in the end,
without attending to the psychological and social inequities and treating the psycho-
logical, medical and social pathologies, sectarianism – the seedbed for terrorism –
spawns ever new variations of terrorism.
Poster Session
Psychological terrorism in the Basque Country: A psychosocial analysis of its
strategies and effects
Javier Martin-Peña, Álvaro Rodríguez-Carballeira, Jordi Escartín and Clara Porrúa
University of Barcelona (Spain)
The ETA network in Spain’s Basque region is the last active terrorist insurgency
group in Western Europe. From the strategy termed by ETA as socialization of
suffering, the approach to violence has changed over time in a variety of ways: group
structure, types of violence and target selection. This has resulted in violence
grounded in the harassment of targets and lasting psychosocial consequences for them
and the society. This kind of violence, reinforced with some murders, can include
threats, intimidation, insults or extortion, among others. It does not always cause inju-
ries and death, but it can cause deep and lasting psychosocial consequences for the
victims. This study delimits and analyses both the strategies of harassment and
psychological violence as the derived consequences perpetrated by ETA terrorist
network in the Basque Country.
The obtained results, first, consist of two categorizations of the mentioned strategies
and consequences of psychological violence, respectively. These categories include the
psychosocial dimension on context, emotions, cognition and behavioural aspects.
Secondly, a sample of testimonies was coded in categories, using the content analysis
technique. The psychological violence analysed in this study reflects a form of psycho-
logical terrorism which persecutes a specific sector of the population. Resulting prac-
tical implications are focused on facilitation in order to de-legitimize the violence.
Violent youth: The influence of community violence, parental supervision and
neighbourhood disorganization on juvenile violent offending
Kareena McAloney, Patrick McCrystal and Andrew Percy
Queen’s University Belfast (Northern Ireland)
Violent crime is increasingly prevalent among young people, and has been linked to
characteristics of both the physical and social environment. In this analysis of the fifth
year of the Belfast Youth Development Study (BYDS), the prevalence of violent
offending is examined for a sample of 3828 young people (aged 15–16 years) and
associations of exposure to community violence, parental supervision and neighbour-
hood with violent offending investigated. Over two-fifths of all young people had
committed at least one violent offence, and one-fifth reported violently offending
three or more times. Violent offending was associated with exposure to community
violence, neighbourhood deprivation and participation in unsupervised, unstructured
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leisure activities outside the family home. The findings suggest that both the physical
and social environment experienced by young people may play a key role in the
development of violent criminality.
An integrated criminological strain approach to the causation of terrorism
Amanda M. Sharp Parker
University of South Florida (United States)
Criminology has much to contribute to the study of terrorism, but few studies have
applied criminological theory to examine the causation of terrorism. Furthermore,
terrorism is an extremely complex problem that cannot be explained at simply one
level of analysis. This paper will propose an integrated theory of terrorism examining
terrorism at both the individual and societal levels. The suggested criminological
theory will propose the integration of General Strain Theory (micro) with Institutional
Anomie Theory (macro), to offer a more complete explanation of the terrorism
phenomenon. Both strengths and weaknesses of the application of criminological
theory and the integration of General Strain with Institutional Anomie will be
What works best for the terrorist: Terror-ism or anger-ism?
Charles Knight
Queensland University of Technology (Australia)
How do terrorist actions translate to political results? What strategies appear to deliver
intended effects, and in what circumstances? To what extent do societal responses inad-
vertently deliver benefits? What role does emotional reaction play? These are important
questions if society is to respond appropriately to terrorism and similar attacks.
The term ‘terrorism’ implies that the debilitating psychological condition of being
terrorized is operative. However this is probably misleading for small violent groups,
since the resources to impose a sustained condition of ‘terror’ and coerce action or
inaction is probably limited to state actors. The relevant emotion is probably appre-
hension. It is apprehension of terrorist violence which leads to ‘costs’ in the form of
inhibiting individual and community behaviour and the expenditure of security
resources. Imposing sustained anxiety on a target population may alone exert political
change, but this seems rare. It seems possible that anger rather than fear is the more
reliable mechanism for terrorists to induce escalatory responses and ultimately coerce
political payoff.
This paper proposes two theoretical models to explore the payoff of political
violence. The first considers violent action on a spectrum of directness. Direct payoff
refers to the costs of the immediate impact of an attack or action. Indirect payoff
means the costs imposed by the response of others such as security forces. Reverber-
ative or very indirect payoff refers to costs imposed by the reactions on responses of
target groups. The ‘model of payoff’ is then applied to an ‘influence model’. This
considers the possible influence of the application of violence against different targets
and traces this towards political decisions.
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Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression 65
These models are then applied to selected cases of robust state actions within
terrorist campaigns drawn from a historical literature review. Instances of both state
success [reduced terrorist membership] and counterproductive results [increased
terrorist membership] are examined and deductions about effective terrorist strategy
‘Successful terrorism’: What is it and how can it be defined
Sarah Marsden
University of St Andrews (Scotland)
The profile of terrorism is growing along with its lethality. Therefore, identifying what
constitutes success in the mind of the terrorist, and those countering them, is of crucial
importance in analysing and informing engagement with the phenomena. This is high-
lighted by an increasing demand for metrics to assess the efficacy of approaches to
political violence in the political realm. This paper will begin by discussing what
‘success’ means for terrorists, their constituencies and counter-terrorists. Consider-
ation will then be given to ways of identifying and quantifying those factors, of
encompassing objective and subjective approaches. This will hopefully provide a
foothold in the spectrum of political violence, with a focus on terrorism, which facil-
itates a rigorous engagement with the concept and measurement of ‘success’. The aim
will be to highlight the importance of assessing engagement with terrorism and polit-
ical violence; to provide an outline of the current state of the knowledge; to propose
measures for measuring success; and to promote discussion on the most appropriate
and informed routes to academic investigation. Discussion of the implications of this
approach will include the political, social and academic realms. This paper will draw
on the speaker’s background in psychology and international relations to provide a
wide-ranging approach to the issue, informed by current debates in these fields and the
wider political sphere.
Nationalism, terrorist threat and counter-terrorism strategies
Maciej Sekerdej
Lisbon University Institute (Portugal)
Malgorzata Kossowska
Jagiellonian University (Poland)
The paper addresses the role which national attitudes play in the perception of
terrorist threat and in preference for specific counterterrorism strategies. Study 1
shows that participants higher on nationalism tend to perceive terrorism threat as
more serious, particularly in its symbolic and personal dimensions, than participants
lower on nationalism. Moreover, we found that nationalism mediates the relation-
ship between perception of personal threat and the support for tough, domestic
policy, even at the expense of some limitation of civil liberties. Study 2 confirms the
link between perception of personal threat and support suspension of civil liberties.
Nevertheless, it turned out that, when terrorism is seen in terms of crime rather than
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in terms of war, the mediating role of nationalism disappears. The results contribute
to a better understanding of the process whereby the perception of one’s own
national group and one’s own nation/state may translate into reactions triggered by
external threats.
Leaving Iraq, imagining the future – is there a way for the US to make it better?
Marcia Byrom Hartwell
University of Oxford (England)/US Army
That the United States’ invasion and occupation of Iraq has been a disaster for both is
now old and mostly uncontested news. As the US Army prepares to withdraw, and
global media attention shifts toward bloodier conflicts, new challenges arise for a
military determined to fix what they did wrong. While this is an honourable approach,
the question remains – can they rectify past mistakes? If so, how?
This paper proposes to examine the intent of an increasingly enlightened US mili-
tary led by a new and enlightened President that many troops helped vote into power.
The Army 1st Corps, based in Fort Lewis, Washington, has now replaced the 18th
Airborne from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, as the de facto ‘peacekeeping mission’
MNC-I (Multi National Corps – Iraq) determined to lead the withdrawal from Iraq
with diplomacy, support and grace.
This paper will address whether or not a military force that was a primary catalyst
for Iraq’s sectarian destruction can now help it thrive in the aftermath. This and related
questions are analysed through the lens of a social scientist, working with the Army
in Iraq to help address key issues related to political violence in a more sensitive and
nuanced manner. This analysis, building upon earlier interdisciplinary research
and fieldwork on perceptions of justice, identity, political processes of forgiveness
and revenge in early post-conflict transitions in Northern Ireland, Serbia and South
Africa, will describe the earliest processes of the US military in leaving Iraq, and
examine a preliminary prognosis for the country’s future.
Illicit trade and its relationship with international security
Natividad Carpintero-Santamaría
Polytechnic University of Madrid (Spain)
Illicit trade has developed in a wide range of areas, some of them representing an
increasingly important role in strategic terms for international security. This paper will
analyse some aspects of illicit trade:
Small arms and light weapons trade has become a problem in several countries,
thus contributing to violence, interethnic conflicts and social disintegration. This
illegal practice is being faced by legitimate governments which are intensifying
cooperation among their security forces, in both a regional and international
Radioactive materials smuggling will also be considered. This traffic is pres-
ently a reason of concern for governments and international organizations, such
as the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency, which
contemplate the possibility that this nuclear material could fall in the hands of
terrorist organizations.
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With the end of the Cold War, new challenges have emerged for international security.
Some war conflicts have resulted in social deterioration and violence that are, in turn,
an indirect frame for illicit activities.
Convenor: Gavin J. Fairbairn (Leeds Metropolitan University)
Participants: Seidu Alidu
Ayeray Medina Bustos
Gavin J. Fairbairn
Dave Webb
The symposium includes three closely related papers. Each addresses ways in which,
following periods of oppression and political violence, reflecting on the past can
contribute to the building of a new future.
Can we have reconciliation without apology and forgiveness?
Gavin J. Fairbairn and Dave Webb
Leeds Metropolitan University (England)
In this paper we look at the concept and practice of reconciliation, and in particular at
the importance that is sometimes given to apology and forgiveness in the attempt to
build a more positive future, following conflict. Both apology and forgiveness have
the possibility of contributing to the healing of relationships, whether at a personal or
societal level. In this way they can contribute to the creation of a more positive future
that takes account of the broken past. En route, we consider the importance, for apol-
ogy, forgiveness and reconciliation following political violence, of the attempt to
establish the truth, and what that might mean.
Representations of truth and reconciliation
Seidu Alidu, Dave Webb and Gavin J. Fairbairn
Leeds Metropolitan University (England)
The attempt to re-image the past and uncover the truth surrounding human rights
abuses after violent conflicts and political dictatorships is one of the central roles of
Truth Commissions. This, of course, is the reason why the word ‘truth’ is included in
the designation of many of the commissions created to investigate past human rights
abuses. Examples include South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission,
Chile’s National Commission on Truth and Reconciliation and the Commission on the
Truth for El-Salvador. Every violent conflict involves participants, with their own
experiences and a range of perspectives. Attempts to re-image or represent certain
events inevitably result in memories, emotions and prejudices becoming mixed, as
perpetrators, victims and observers recall specific cases and many versions of the truth
are expressed. In this paper we discuss the role that truth plays in the attempt to
achieve reconciliation after political violence, through such mechanisms.
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68 2009 CICA-STR International Conference
How can the future be imagined, when the past is struggling to find some light?
Ayeray Medina Bustos
Leeds Metropolitan University (England)
In this paper I analyse a story from the time of the last coup d’état in Argentina,
between 1976 and 1983. It is a personal story, in which I am directly involved as a
daughter, as a niece, as the child I was at that time and as the adult I am now. It is my
mother’s story, my aunt’s story and my own story. The process of remembering is not
easy. Re-opening old wounds brings anguish, and can be distressing, rut recounting
the past can provide a new version of a person’s story by reconstructing their memory
of the experience of violence and survival, thus enabling the reconstitution of their
identity. Although it begins with personal stories, the paper links these to a discussion
of ways in which society at large can be enabled to create shared memory and a better
understanding of the past, in order that it can have the chance to build a more positive
Convenor: Rona Fields
Participants: Sheila Pfafflin
Kinga Williams
This presentation draws together two distinct papers characterized by a psychologi-
cal and behavioural studies understanding of political violence and collective
Complex or dangerous
Kinga Williams
Mensana Intercultural Psychological (England)
The talk sets out to explore what provides the persuasive power to various cultural
world-views. Various cultures create their world-views by construing reality in
particular ways, while rendering alternative world-views threatening. At times of
danger (e.g. war, terrorism), world-views with a clear vision of an orderly world-
structure (e.g. fundamentalism, communism) become increasingly attractive. It is
suggested that their appeal is due to their simplicity. The presentation proposes that
individual cognitive simplifications and socio-cognitive simplifications are very
similar. Individuals under acute stress are well known to resort to simplifying cogni-
tions as a temporary labour-saving device to free up capacity – a process that results
in cognitive errors. On a socio-cultural level the same tendency of cognitive
simplification occurs, when the acute stress of increased mortality salience further
amplifies the chronic, ultimate stress of mortality awareness. The resulting socio-
cognitive simplifications are as powerful as they are dangerous. Given that, in the
present cultural–political climate, their appeal is on the increase, mindfulness of
their workings is imperative.
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Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression 69
Women and war: Leadership and outcomes
Sheila Pfafflin
Consultant (United States)
Psychological and behavioural studies relevant to societal expectations regarding
women, war and peace will be reviewed, and evidence supporting or refuting these
expectations will be presented. Examples of women’s leadership in activities
designed to reduce conflict and improve inter-groups relations in post-conflict societ-
ies will be examined for factors relevant to the origins and impact of such efforts. The
importance of recognizing the gendered nature of war, and women’s active participa-
tion in war and the after-effects of war, will be discussed, and the implications for
women’s roles in political violence and the aftermath of political violence will be
considered, including implications for building stable and peaceful post-conflict
Does fair government engender inter-national conflict? The ironical relationship
between intra-national justice and inter-national justice
Tomohiro Kumagai
Tohoku University (Japan)
National policy and international conflict is deeply mediated through two kinds of
social justice. One is the social justice within the nation (intra-national justice) that is
related to the policy on tax, education or employment, and the other is the social
justice between nations (inter-national justice) that is related to war or international
conflict. The paper argues that these two types of social justice do not go together,
rather they are in a dilemma. According to group value model by Lind and Tyler,
individuals feel respected when they are fairly treated within the group. This
produces satisfaction with being in the group, thereby enhancing their identification
with the group. Further, group identification intensifies ingroup favouritism. Individ-
uals who have high ingroup favouritism want to be evaluated more positively, thus
they tend to perceive that they are unfairly evaluated, and this engenderd perceived
intergroup injustice and international conflict. In this study, we examined this
‘Group-Justice dilemma’ in real life, using social survey data about Japan and China.
We hypothesized that intra-national justice would enhance Japanese identification
and enhance two types of ingroup favouritism: patriotism and nationalism, in which
only nationalism would engender a sense of the international injustice, therefore
producing an aggressive attitude against China. The results support the Group-Justice
dilemma model, and also suggest that intra-national justice intensifies international
conflict between Japan and China. Focusing on the differences between patriotism
and nationalism, the psychological mechanism of the Group-Justice dilemma and the
ways to overcome it are discussed. Further, additional factors are examined to
improve the model.
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70 2009 CICA-STR International Conference
Scale of conflicts between firms, communities, new social movements and the role
of government
Jose G. Vargas-Hernandez
Universidad de Guadalajara (Mexico)
This paper reviews the different levels of scale of conflicts between firms, communi-
ties, New Social Movements and the role of government. The analysis begins by
searching for the implications of conflict between the state, governments and commu-
nities, along with the conflictive relationships between firms and the states and finally
some of the effects of conflicts within firms. This review is a first step toward the
design of typology of conflict considering the scale.
Lebanon: Post-war reconstruction as conflict by other means
Roger MacGinty
University of St Andrews (Scotland)
This paper uses fieldwork on post-war reconstruction in Lebanon following the 2006
Israeli-Hezbollah war to frame reconstruction as a continuation and extension of
conflict. In the case of Lebanon, the reconstruction conflict operates on three ‘fronts’:
(1) Reconstruction as a symbol of continued resistance against Israel; (2) reconstruc-
tion as part of the wider regional contest between Western-oriented Sunni political
interests vs anti-Western (mainly Shia) political interests; and (3) reconstruction as an
extension of the confessional conflict within Lebanon.
The main focus of this paper is on the activities of Jihad al Bina (the reconstruction
arm of Hezbollah) and the Waad initiative, a reconstruction initiative in Beirut’s
southern suburbs and organized by Hezbollah. The paper will seek to explain the ways
in which reconstruction is mobilized, justified, targeted and executed as an extension
of conflict. The paper will conclude by conceptualizing the meanings of ‘reconstruc-
tion’ given the competitive (even conflictual) nature associated with some post-war
recovery activities.
Progress Report
Scientists and human rights: Joining together to stop political violence, injustice
and deprivation
Art Kendall
Capital Area Social Psychological Association (United States)
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and
Human Rights (SHR) office had a series of activities in honour of the 60th Anniver-
sary of the United Nation’s (UN) Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR).
The UDHR and later documents are the basis of international law with regard to
human rights. One of these activities was to bring together a steering committee of
representatives from scientific societies to form a coalition for dealing with issues of
science and human rights. Dr Kendall was the representative from CASPA, the
Capital Area Social Psychological Association.
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Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression 71
Why us?: Dr Kendall will discuss how much that behavioural scientists interested
in aggression, terrorism and political violence do can be expressed in human rights
vocabulary. The Coalition: he will discuss the Launch of the Coalition on 14–16 Janu-
ary 2009. The Launch included many speakers, including Mary Robinson, the former
President of Ireland and currently the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. He
will also discuss the foundational documents of the Coalition. He will outline its
purpose, guidelines and membership. The Scientists on Call System: in October 2008,
CASPA and the Washington Statistical Society sponsored an event to introduce the
Scientists on Call system. AAAS provides an online system for physical, health, behav-
ioural and social scientists to volunteer to help with human rights activities. It also
provides an online system for human rights activists to request scientific volunteers.
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