Terrorism: An identity theory perspective

Seth J Schwartz, Curtis S. Dunkel, Alan S. Waterman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

53 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The present article outlines the role of personal, social, and cultural identity in religiously and ethnically motivated terrorism. It is proposed that terrorism represents the confluence of a cultural identity strongly based in collectivism and in fundamentalist adherence to religious or cultural principles, a social identity based in sharp contrasts between one's own group and groups perceived as threats, and a foreclosed and authoritarian sense of personal identity or, less often, a diffused and aimless personal identity. Examples from religious-extremist and ethnic conflicts in which terrorism has been employed are used to illustrate the tenets advanced here. Recommendations for addressing and preventing the threat of terrorism are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)537-559
Number of pages23
JournalStudies in Conflict and Terrorism
Volume32
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2009

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Terrorism
terrorism
cultural identity
threat
collectivism
ethnic conflict
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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Safety Research
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality

Cite this

Terrorism : An identity theory perspective. / Schwartz, Seth J; Dunkel, Curtis S.; Waterman, Alan S.

In: Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Vol. 32, No. 6, 01.06.2009, p. 537-559.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Schwartz, Seth J ; Dunkel, Curtis S. ; Waterman, Alan S. / Terrorism : An identity theory perspective. In: Studies in Conflict and Terrorism. 2009 ; Vol. 32, No. 6. pp. 537-559.
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