Volatile Social Movements and the Origins of Terrorism

Volatile Social Movements and the Origins of Terrorism : The Radicalization of Change

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Although many scholars have studied terrorism, few scholars have ever studied terrorism from the aspect of its initial origins in social movements. Not only is research concerning this phenomenon outdated, but there has also been no consensus as to what causes terrorism. Many contemporary terrorist organizations were once social movements that formed for a specific purpose using nonviolent tactics to accomplish their agenda. Eventually, terrorist tactics became the method of choice for these once peaceful social movements. Volatile Social Movements and the Origins of Terrorism: The Radicalization of Change, by Christine Sixta Rinehart, focuses on why this transition occurred; why did a peaceful social movement transition to a terrorist organization? The case studies in this book include the Muslim Brotherhood, the ETA, the FARC, and the LTTE. The study focuses on the individual characteristics, group dynamics, and external forces that caused social movements to use terrorist tactics. It is ascertained who made the decision to use terrorism, and why and how that person or group of people ascended to a leadership position within the social movement.
After the (person) people, time, and place are found pertaining to the first decision to use terrorism, Sixta Rinehart examines why terrorism became an attractive option for each social movement. Volatile Social Movements and the Origins of Terrorism asks a necessary question for scholars and researchers in counterterrorism and international policy: Under what conditions do social movements resort to the use of terrorist tactics?
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Product details

  • Hardback | 166 pages
  • 152.4 x 228.6 x 17.78mm | 362.87g
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 4 Graphs; 4 Tables, unspecified
  • 0739177702
  • 9780739177709

Table of contents

Introduction: The Radicalization of Social Movements and Political Parties Chapter 1. Revolutionizing Terrorism: The Radicalization of Hasan al-Banna and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Chapter 2. Radicalizing Ekin: The Transformation of Euzkadi ta Askatasuna (ETA) Chapter 3. Forsaking Colombia: The Creation and Radicalization of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) Chapter 4. Ceylon Tigers: The Creation and Radicalization of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Conclusion and Analysis
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Review quote

This timely book considers multiple manifestations of political violence in the United States and abroad. Rinehart specifically seeks to discover the causal factors of radicalization in mass movements-the group dynamics that transform nonviolent social movements into organizations employing terrorism. Three radicalizing factors are identified: charismatic leaders deciding to use terrorism, obediently implemented by followers; frustration as the political goals of a movement are not accomplished by peaceful means and violence ensues; ascendance of violent personalities to leadership positions in social movements. This multidisciplinary conceptual framework is applied to four case studies: the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, the Basque Euzkadi ta Askatasuna of Spain, Fuerzas Armados Revolucionarios de Colombia, and Ceylon's Liberation of Tigers of Tamil Eelam. The concluding chapter analyzes the similarities and differences among the case studies and points to future research topics such as the radicalizing impact of universities, the utility of Marxist ideology, reasons for dissolution of terrorist groups, and the rise of religious terrorism, a most relevant phenomenon to policy makers worldwide. This is a good start on the study of radicalization, an extremely complex phenomenon in need of more extensive and methodologically complex examination. Summing Up: Recommended. All readership levels. CHOICE An interesting and important account of the role of certain types of social movements in originating and causing terrorism. The author points out that while many terrorist organizations had begun as social movements seeking to achieve their objectives through nonviolent tactics, over time terrorist tactics became their 'method of choice.' To explain how such transitions from non-violence to violence occurred, the author examines the individual characteristics, group dynamics, and external forces in how such phenomena occurred in the case studies of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, the Basque ETA in Spain, the FARC in Colombia, and the LTTE in Sri Lanka. The author finds that terrorist groups emerge from social movements under certain conditions that include the presence of frustration 'that led to aggression' and leadership by a charismatic leader that possesses a 'violent personality' (pp.141-142). Also of interest is the author's recommendation for future research, particularly the call for scholars to 'study why terrorist organizations disaffiliate or die.' (p.143) Perspectives on Terrorism
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About Christine Sixta Rinehart

Christine Sixta Rinehart is an assistant adjunct professor of women's and gender studies at the University of South Carolina.
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