chapter  9
15 Pages

A conceptual framework for addressing psychological process in the development of the terrorist: Max Taylor and John Horgan

ByMAX TAYLOR, JOHN HORGAN

It is increasingly accepted that if we think of terrorism as something conducted by evil people whose intention is to destroy “our” way of life, we are vulnerable to making serious errors of analysis that may consequently defl ect policy down fl awed paths.1 Efforts to understand terrorism in terms of abnormal, individual, or other special motivations similarly seem inappropriate, and to the extent that psychology can contribute to this debate, there seems to be little or no evidence of particular or distinctive individual qualities being associated with the terrorist.2 On the other hand, we see across the heterogeneity of groups that use terrorism today what seems to be an unending fl ow of recruits, who seem capable of engaging in levels of increasingly extreme violence, including suicide. How can this, and the issues that emerge from it, be understood, if not in terms of psychopathology or evil individual action and motivation?