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Psychology perspectives on community vengeance as a terrorist motivator

Bowman-Grieve, L, Palace, M and Shortland, N (2019) Psychology perspectives on community vengeance as a terrorist motivator. Safer Communities, 18 (3/4). pp. 81-93. ISSN 1757-8043

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Purpose: The paper explores the concept of vengeance as a terrorist motivator.
Approach: The paper takes a community psychological perspective to examine vengeance in a number of forms. Firstly covering ‘blood vengeance’, it then examines vigilantism and death squads as functional examples of vengeful entities, as well as the morality of vengeance and the impact of propaganda on vengeance as a terrorist motivator. Finally, both group processes and individual factors relating to the promotion and use of vengeance in terrorism are covered.
Findings: Vengeance can be conceptualised in a number of ways: as a predisposing factor to individual involvement, a factor that contributes to keeping the movement ‘bound’ together (but which can also negatively affect the group’s strategic logic), a factor in the escalation of violent activity through vigilantism, retribution and retaliation which can result in a perpetuation of a cycle of violence, and as a moral mandate that is ideologically rationalised and justified, with perceptions of righteousness and obligation inherent to it.
Limitations: The presented research is limited by the scarcely available data. Practical implications: Efforts should be made to defuse vengeful motivations by tapping into collective identities of communities and incorporating multicultural values.
Social implications: Policy makers should be wary of scoring populist scores by ridiculing outgroup/religious elements as that creates potential for vengeful terror attacks.
Originality/value: The paper offers insights by renewing the neglected perspective of vengeance in terrorism research.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The AAM is deposited under the above licence and any reuse is allowed in accordance with the terms outlined by the licence. To reuse the AAM for commercial purposes, permission should be sought by contacting permissions@emeraldinsight.com.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Divisions: Natural Sciences & Psychology (closed 31 Aug 19)
Publisher: Emerald
Date Deposited: 09 Apr 2019 09:43
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2024 11:42
DOI or ID number: 10.1108/SC-08-2018-0023
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/10520
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