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NCJ Number: 89354 Find in a Library
Title: Collective Violence and Political Process - Can Democracy Be Defended?
Journal: Revue internationale de criminologie et de police technique  Volume:35  Issue:3  Dated:(July-September 1982)  Pages:231-254
Author(s): D Szabo
Date Published: 1982
Page Count: 24
Format: Article
Language: French
Country: Switzerland
Annotation: This essay on the nature of contemporary political violence addresses issues of problem definition, terrorist rationales, their sociological context, and the attitudes and strategies by which democratic regimes can protect themselves against terrorist acts and objectives.
Abstract: The crucial features of contemporary political terrorism are its use of the media to dramatize an immediate menace to public security and to confuse ideological goals with violent means. To explain the emergence of political violence, the author draws sociocultural models, indicating greater potential for violence in pluralistic societies, where subcultural and countercultural pursuits disrupt the harmonious integration of the laws, social customs, and moral values of the population. Most technologically advanced democracies fall into the categories of partially integrated or nonintegrated cultures. The models illustrate the complexity of the causes of terrorism and indicate that simple, repressive countermeasures are inadequate solutions. Future terrorist acts are likely to increase in frequency, sophistication, and issues of discontent. Democratic governments cannot espouse brute force in crushing potential terrorists without jeopardizing their commitment to basic rights and civil liberties. Therefore, the holistic governmental response should address the broadest causative levels of the terrorist phenomenon, working on socioeconomic issues and political reforms and promoting a spirit of antiterrorist consensus and loyalty to democratic ideals. Crisis management and intervention techniques should be reserved for quelling individual incidents as they arise, and antiterrorist policies should be clearly articulated and consistently implemented. International agreements should condemn abuses of diplomatic immunity to protect terrorists as well as governments implicated in supporting terrorist movements. Charts and 21 references are given.
Index Term(s): Counter-terrorism tactics; Political impact of terrorism; Political influences; Revolutionary or terrorist groups; Terrorist ideologies
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