The Psychology of
University of Manitoba, Canada
The September 11, 2001 attack on the US has brought about a renewed interest in terrorism. However, terrorism is not a new phenomenon, or even a product of the twentieth century. It is important to understand that terrorism has been a part of society and the political landscape in one form or another for hundreds of years (e.g. thugs, assassins) (Crenshaw, 1990a; Hoffman, 1999; St John, 1991a). Terrorist activities have, out of necessity, evolved and adapted to accommodate changes in society (Lomasky, 1991). At the beginning of the twenty-first century, society is again evolving and changing. The latter portion of the twentieth century saw the rise of the information revolution. This information revolution has led not only to advances in technology, and to the creation of the Internet and cyberspace, but also to the phenomenon of what is now being called the 'virtual society' or the 'global community'. This community is having a large impact on our lives and is being populated by business, government, military and the public (North, 2000). As cyberspace evolves, terrorists are becoming increasingly aware of and interested in this new medium (Denning, 1999). Several factors, including the availability of targets, group ideology, the intended audience and the psychological make-up of the group and its members, influence the terrorist's interest in cyberspace (Clutterbuck, 1975).
Terrorists, Victims and Society: Psychological Perspectives on Terrorism and its Consequences.
Edited by Andrew Silke. © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.