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NCJ Number: NCJ 225414    
Title: Terrorism as Suicidal Homicide: A Durkheimian Approach (From Understanding Terrorism: Analysis of Sociological and Psychological Aspects, P 33-41, 2007, Suleyman Ozeren, Ismail Dincer Gunes, et al., eds. -- See NCJ-225410)
Author(s): Mahmoud Sadri
Date Published: 2007
Page Count: 9
  Annotation: This chapter applies Durkheim’s typology of suicide to homicide and suicidal homicide in outlining the general features of a cultural approach to the phenomenon of terrorism.
Abstract: The Durkheimian model proposed in this essay distinguishes three varieties of suicidal homicide--“egoistic,” “altruistic,” and “anomic.” “Altruistic” suicidal homicide involves suicide missions perceived as promoting a cause or ideological suicidal homicide. This type of suicidal homicide is recognized in most societies as suicide bombing. Altruistic suicidal homicide generally resonates with deeper cultural sensibilities. Immediate and intense emotional moral response (for and against the act) distinguishes altruistic suicidal homicide. In basing suicidal homicide in a cultural model, this chapter envisions three concentric circles in which the local culture (the outer circle) contains a number of extremist subcultures (the middle circle) that, given the requisite external and internal pressure, launch terrorist ideologies (the innermost circle). Terrorism is the result of a two-stage process of radicalization and mutation of local cultural values and aspirations. Levels of cultural support for terrorism, i.e., suicidal homicide, can be measured. The more insular the concentric circles, the more porous are the walls that separate the circles, and the more volatile is the cultural moral and material support for extremist and terrorist groups who advocate violence in the pursuit of cultural goals. The real or perceived external threat or internal repression fosters a sense of defeat, desperation, and disenfranchisement that accelerates the formation of extremism and facilitates the mutation of extremism into terrorism. Counterterrorism tactics must aim at defusing the cultural model of suicidal homicide labeling it as “anomic” suicidal homicide, which parallels cult suicidal homicide, which is a departure from norms in both Western and non-Western cultural values. 3 tables, 1 figure, and 33 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Suicide ; Bombings ; Cultural influences ; Counter-terrorism tactics ; Terrorist tactics ; Sociological analyses ; Suicide causes ; Terrorism causes
Publisher URL: 
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Country: Netherlands
Language: English
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