Evolutionary Perspectives on Terrorism and Political Violence
This book explores the evolutionary context of terrorism and political violence.
Evolutionary thinking has come to permeate both biological and social-science theorising, but has not yet been applied systematically to the areas of terrorism and political violence. While much serious criminality has been investigated from an evolutionary perspective (notably murder and sexual predation), this has been less marked in respect of terror groups. Central to such thinking is the eusociality of people, involving loyalty to and investment in groups not exceeding some 200 in number. Known as 'Dunbar's number', how this influences and affects terrorist and violent political group formation, their sustainability, and how it might be used to inform counter measures against them, remain to be explored. Yet some features of federated groups, choice of hate targets, and socialisation into crime is likely to be informative when applied to terrorism. This book seeks to do this for the first time.
The key features of the p[reent volume are:
1. Identification of evolutionary thought as heuristically important in the understanding of terrorism.
2. Suggestions as to practical evolution-based anti-terror policies.
3. Exploration of conceptual themes
4. Provision of an evolutionary (and cross-species) understanding of the community-wide effects of terrorist attack.
The structure aims to introduce evolutionary thinking about terrorism, and then to explore some selected conceptual issues. Necessarily in a book of this type, not all areas of potential interest and relevance can be covered, but the intention is to provide a sufficient discussion to enable the reader to both understand the relevance of evolutionary thinking to terrorism and political violence, and to appreciate the practical implications of conceptualising problems in this way.
This book will be of much interest to students of terrorism and political violence, psychology, criminology and security studies.