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Chapter

Cover Contemporary Terrorism Studies

10. When Do Individuals Radicalize?  

Rik Coolsaet

This chapter examines issues related to the radicalization of individuals. It explores the advent of terrorism studies. Early scholars laid the foundations for current thinking on terrorism. The chapter defines radicalization as the process wherein participants are drawn into a protest with the likelihood of a terrorist act taking place. The classic definition of radicalization has been much contested from its very beginning. The 9/11 attacks of Al-Qaeda gave terrorism studies a renewed boost. The chapter looks into various models which depict the steps of radicalization. It also looks at the factors which make an individual become a terrorist: conductive environment, opportunity, local mobilization hubs, and ideology. In most cases, the process of socialization into extremism and terrorism transpires gradually.

Chapter

Cover Contemporary Terrorism Studies

11. Can Terrorism Be Rational?  

Max Abrahms

This chapter looks into the rationality of terrorism. It starts off by looking into the paradox of terrorism. Political scientists typically view terrorists as rational political actors. However, empirical research on terrorism suggests that terrorism is in fact an ineffective political tactic. Evidence indicates that in instances where there has been terrorist attacks on civilians, governments rarely grant concessions. This might explain why terrorism is often selected as a tactic only if alternative options are no longer viable. The chapter uses Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State as case studies to examine broader patterns of terrorism. Knowing the priority of terrorists is vital for governments when considering counterterrorism actions. Having an understanding of the grievances of terrorists helps political actors predict which targets the terrorists will attack.

Chapter

Cover Contemporary Terrorism Studies

29. The End of Terrorist Campaigns  

Audrey Kurth Cronin

This chapter examines the end of terrorist campaigns. Thinking about how terrorism ends is the best way to use a group's weaknesses against it. Based on studies of hundreds of cases, it has been shown that terrorist campaigns end following six classic patterns. These are capturing or killing the leader, negotiations, achievement of the objective, failure, state repression, and reorientation to another type of violence. Without long-term thinking, counterterrorism gets caught in the action–reaction dynamic of terrorist campaigns. After all, reactive, tactical counterterrorism prolongs the struggle and extends terrorist campaigns, sweeping up outraged policymakers and public members. The chapter also references Al-Qaeda and ISIS as case studies.