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Kleinot, P. (2017). One man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist: a selected overview of the psychoanalytic and group analytic study of terrorism. Psychoanal. Psychother., 31(3):272-284.

(2017). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 31(3):272-284

Articles

One man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist: a selected overview of the psychoanalytic and group analytic study of terrorism

Pamela Kleinot

This paper is an attempt to understand the significant increase in terrorism worldwide following the 9/11 Al-Quaida bombings which triggered the Bush Administration’s “war on terror”, leading to two wars and ultimately to the emergence of Daesh. I explore the motivation for social violence as terrorism, which can be carried out by the state or by its citizens, and look at how one man’s freedom fighter is another’s terrorist. The paper looks at why seemingly ordinary people are converted into ‘homegrown’ jihadists and how alienation and shame are the driving forces of violence. I give a selected overview of psychoanalytical ideas that try to make sense of the unconscious roots of aggression, hatred and violence. As terrorism is a social activity group analysis has an important contribution to make in understanding the violence of large groupings. The media has a crucial role to play as sensationalist coverage of violence provides terrorists with a free media platform. Both the media and terrorists need an audience and feed off each other. This paper will explore these themes.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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