Terrorist Rationalization of Violence

Terrorist Rationalization of Violence - Terrorist...

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Terrorist Rationalization of Violence Living underground, terrorists gradually become divorced from reality, engaging in what Ferracuti (1982) has described as a “fantasy war.” The stresses that accompany their underground, covert lives as terrorists may also have adverse social and psychological consequences for them. Thus, as Taylor (1988:93) points out, although “mental illness may not be a particularly helpful way of conceptualizing terrorism, the acts of terrorism and membership in a terrorist 39 organization may well have implications for the terrorist’s mental health.” Albert Bandura (1990) has described four techniques of moral disengagement that a terrorist group can use to insulate itself from the human consequences of its actions. First, by using moral justification terrorists may imagine themselves as the saviors of a constituency threatened by a great evil. For example, Donatella della Porta (1992:286), who interviewed members of left-wing militant groups in Italy and Germany, observed that the militants “began to perceive themselves as members of a heroic community of generous people fighting a war against ‘evil.’” Second, through the technique of displacement of responsibility onto the leader or other members of the group, terrorists portray themselves as functionaries who are merely following their leader’s orders. Conversely, the terrorist may blame other members of the group. Groups that are organized into cells and columns may be more capable of carrying out ruthless operations because of the potential for displacement of responsibility. Della Porta’s interviews with leftwing
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This note was uploaded on 12/04/2011 for the course ANTHRO 2000 taught by Professor Monicaoyola during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.

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Terrorist Rationalization of Violence - Terrorist...

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