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Reshetnikov, M. (2008). Visions of the Future: Social Processes and Terrorism in Europe. J. Anal. Psychol., 53(5):653-665.

(2008). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 53(5):653-665

Understanding Terrorism

Visions of the Future: Social Processes and Terrorism in Europe Related Papers

Mikhail Reshetnikov

When we think of terrorism, we tend to think of Islamic terrorism but in fact most of the violent happenings in our societies are caused by ‘domestic terrorism’ and it has been suggested by authors such as Twemlow that there is a developmental continuum between social activism and terrorism. The generalized rise in what the author terms ‘a terrorist worldview’ has been linked to many different social, political, economic and psychological conflicts but the present paper suggests that this is not sufficient and that in order to understand it it is necessary to take into consideration certain processes in contemporary civilization. At present, I am suggesting that Western civilization is characterized by the generalized breakdown of values and of signifying structures and by the gradual weakening of the models of state power and institutions that previously guaranteed the unity and security of our societies. The result is a crisis of identity which is particularly evident among the youth of today and when this is exasperated by the failure of authority to provide an adequate explanatory system of contemporary reality and by the tendency to resort to repressive mechanisms, all too often the result is the degeneration of social activism into social violence. It is becoming urgent that our societies reflect on more efficient ways of preventing social activism degenerating into terrorism, both internationally and domestically.

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