Driven to Death: Psychological and Social Aspects of Suicide Terrorism

Hardcover | June 18, 2010

byAriel Merari

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Suicide attacks are the definitive form of terrorism. More than any other terrorist tactic, they convey the ruthless willingness of present day terrorists to kill themselves for killing others. Since September 11, 2001 the number of suicide attacks around the world has risen dramatically,causing on average far more fatalities per attack than other forms of terrorism. What drives a person to kill himself for killing others, in the name of a political or religious cause? This book is the first to report a series of studies in which failed suicide bombers and organizers of suicide attacks were subjected to systematic clinical psychological interviews and tests andwere compared to non-suicide terrorists. This direct psychological examination enabled a first-hand assessment of the personality characteristics and motivation of suicide bombers. Additional interviews conducted by seasoned area specialists provided a comprehensive picture of the ways by which thesuicide bombers were recruited, prepared and dispatched to their planned death, as well as how they felt and behaved along this road. This information was supplemented by data derived from interviews with the families of suicide bombers who died carrying out their attacks. The psychological makeup of suicide terrorists is put into context in other chapters of the book, so as to provide an inclusive understanding of this phenomenon, which takes into account public atmosphere and the ways in which terrorist groups influence the suicide candidates. The book examines thecharacteristics of suicide terrorists in light of the most influential theories of suicide and offers a critical and innovative analysis of current explanations of suicide terrorism.

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Suicide attacks are the definitive form of terrorism. More than any other terrorist tactic, they convey the ruthless willingness of present day terrorists to kill themselves for killing others. Since September 11, 2001 the number of suicide attacks around the world has risen dramatically,causing on average far more fatalities per attac...

Prof. Ariel Merari has studied terrorism and political violence for more than 30 years. He has been a faculty member of Tel Aviv University's Department ofPpsychology, established the terrorism research program at the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, a visiting professor at Berkeley and Harvard, and a Senior Fellow at the Kennedy S...
Format:HardcoverDimensions:328 pages, 6.3 × 9.21 × 1.18 inPublished:June 18, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195181026

ISBN - 13:9780195181029

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements1. Introduction2. History of Suicide for an Ideological Cause3. Demographic Characteristics of Suicide Bombers: A Global View4. Palestinian Suicide Bombers in the Eyes of Their Families5. A Controlled Study of Would-Be Suicides6. Psychological Characteristics and Decision Making of Palestinian Organizers of Suicide Attacks7. Public Atmosphere8. Suicide Terrorism in the Light of Suicide Theory9. Current Explanations of Suicide Terrorism10. Conclusion: A Comprehensive View of Suicide TerrorismReferencesAppendix: Palestinian public attitudes to suicide terrorism - summary of polls