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The Psychogenesis of Terrorism

Corner, EJ; (2017) The Psychogenesis of Terrorism. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Studies concerning both mental disorder and involvement in terrorism have a long and convoluted history. The literature that has focused on attempting to understand psychological drivers of terrorist behaviour has shifted through multiple stages. Moving from untested assumptions of psychopathology, personality, and deviance, towards more empirically sound interpretations of sociology. While the early studies were correctly debunked on methodological grounds, the existing consensus, spawned from the growing interest in sociology, that mental disorder never plays a role in terrorism, is likely to be a fallacy when we consider the complexity of the problem and the diverse pool of individuals who engage in it. This body of research falls into line with highly influential seminal reviews, and more recent re-examination of the role of group processes in terrorism. This thesis takes the starting position that the logic of an act of targeted violence being either borne out of mental health problems or terrorism is likely to be a false dichotomy. Instead, we are likely to see a range of mental disorders across the arc of terrorist involvement. This thesis utilises multiple existing and novel inferential statistical techniques on both qualitative and quantitative datasets, to address the current discord both in the understanding of the potential role of psychopathology, and to re-examine currently well accepted, but as yet untested theories of terrorist behaviour. The intent of this multi-pronged methodology is to provide practitioners with a holistic understanding of the problem as well as suggestions toward preventing and disrupting future offences.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: The Psychogenesis of Terrorism
Event: University College London
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Security and Crime Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1543329
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