DISCOURAGING terrorism, the subject of this chapter, overlaps with the idea of responding to it, the topic of the previous chapter. Proper preparation and training of the population for attacks and equipping and training first responders help make terrorist attacks less damaging, thus indirectly discouraging them. It is appropriate, however, to treat the topic of discouragement in its own right, because it includes so many additional facets. I take up the subject as systematically as I can in this chapter, concentrating not so much on logistics and technology as on the human dimensions of discouragement—the psychological, social (especially the organizational), economic, and political aspects.
In many respects this chapter is written as a mirror image of the results reported in chapter 2 (conditions and causes), chapter 3 (ideology), and chapter 4 (motivation and group processes). This strategy is based on the axiom that all the determinants of contemporary terrorism are simultaneously aspects of its vulnerability and points of potential intervention to discourage it. Knowledge of those determinants, moreover, can inform us about the relative fruitfulness of different strategies of discouragement.
Just as the semantics of terrorism are fraught with ambiguities and conflict, so are the corresponding defensive strategies against it. It is useful, by way of introducing this chapter, to sketch some of the
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Publication information: Book title: The Faces of Terrorism: Social and Psychological Dimensions. Contributors: Neil J. Smelser - Author. Publisher: Princeton University Press. Place of publication: Princeton, NJ. Publication year: 2007. Page number: 160.
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