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Why Do People Commit Terrorist Acts

In: Social Issues

Submitted By jnizzle
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This paper will provide a theoretical framework to answer the question of why it is that people commit terrorist acts. There are many speculations as to why an individual decides to partake in terrorism. This paper will examine three theoretical models that may have some utility in explaining why an individual might decide to be involved in terrorist activities. One reason why a person would involve themselves with terrorist acts is theorized by Gottredson and Hirschi's Self-control Theory, in that, those individuals with low self-control are more likely to be influenced and involved with participating in terrorist acts. A second reason why a person may chose to be involved with terrorist acts is described by Wikstrom's Situational Action Theory; that there's a situational mechanism linking person and environment to actions. In other words, an individual's perceptions of action alternatives are influenced by that person's morality and executive capabilities. A third, and final reason as to why an individual might involve themselves in terrorist activities, is Stryker's idea of Identity Theory. It explains social behavior in terms of the reciprocal relations between self and society. In other words, society affects social behavior through its influence on self. This in turn will help explain why a person would commit a terrorist act. It is important to first define exactly what is meant by the word terrorism. Once there is an understanding of the definition of terrorism, then it will be easier to understand the theories stated above as to why an individual commits terrorist acts. According to Robert Kumamoto, terrorism, "is the threat or use of violence for political purposes by individuals or groups, whether acting for, or in opposition to, established governmental authority, when such actions are intended to shock, stun, or...

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