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The Devoted Actor as Parochial Altruist: Sectarian Morality, Identity Fusion, and Support for Costly Sacrifices

“The Devoted Actor as Parochial Altruist: Sectarian Morality, Identity Fusion, andSupport for Costly Sacrifices” Hammad Sheikh, Scott Atran, Jeremy Ginges, Lydia Wilson, Nadine Obeid, and Richard Davis (2014), Cliodynamics 5(1)  Abstract We explore how Darwinian notions of moral virtue and parochial altruism may relate to the emerging cognitive framework of the devoted actor who undertakes extreme actions in defense of group values. After…Read More »

For Cause and Comrade: Devoted Actors and Willingness to Fight

“For Cause and Comrade: Devoted Actors and Willingness to Fight” Scott Atran, Hammad Sheikh, and Angel Gomez (2014), Cliodynamics 5(1). Abstract This report provides initial evidence that “devoted actors” who are unconditionally committed to a sacred cause, as well as to their comrades,willingly make costly sacrifices, including fighting and dying. Although American military analysts since WWII tend…Read More »

Multi-Method Assessment of ISIL, “The Devoted Actor, Sacred Values, and Willingness to Fight: Preliminary Studies with ISIL Volunteers and Kurdish Frontline Fighters”

“The Devoted Actor, Sacred Values, and Willingness to Fight“ Center on Terrorism colleagues Dr. Scott Atran, Lydia Wilson, Richard Davis, and Hammad Sheikh, with the assistance of ARTIS Research, University of Oxford, and Minerva researchers, publish some of their early results from interviews performed on the ground in Iraq. This appeared as part of a larger compilation of varied approaches to understanding the threat of…Read More »

Until the Fires Stopped Burning: 9/11 and New York City in the Words and Experiences of Survivors and Witnesses

Charles B. Strozier Charles B. Strozier’s college lost sixty-eight alumni in the tragedy of 9/11, and the many courses he has taught on terrorism and related topics since have attracted dozens of survivors and family members. A practicing psychoanalyst in Manhattan, Strozier has also accepted many seared by the disaster into his care. In some…Read More »

Witness to an Extreme Century: A Memoir

Robert Jay Lifton On a fateful day in the spring of 1954 Robert Jay Lifton, a young American psychiatrist just discharged from service in the Korean War, decided to stay in Hong Kong rather than return home—changing his life plans entirely—so that he could continue work that had enthralled him, interviewing people subjected to Chinese…Read More »

Talking to the Enemy: Faith, Brotherhood, and the (Un)Making of Terrorists

Scott Atran Terrorists don’t kill and die just for a cause. They kill and die for each other. In this rigorous and challenging work that combines the penetrating insight of The Looming Tower and the historical sweep and scope of Guns, Germs, and Steel, renowned social scientist Scott Atran traces terrorism’s root causes in human…Read More »

Multilateral Counter-Terrorism: The global politics of cooperation and contestation (Global Institutions)

Peter Romaniuk Contemporary terrorism is a global phenomenon requiring a globalized response. In this book Peter Romaniuk aims to assess to what extent states seek multilateral responses to the threats they face from terrorists. Providing a concise history and a clear discussion of current patterns of counter-terrorist co-operation, this book: analyses a wide spectrum of…Read More »

The Fundamentalist Mindset: Psychological Perspectives on Religion, Violence, and History

Charles B. Strozier, David M. Terman, James W. Jones, Katherine A. Boyd This penetrating book sheds light on the psychology of fundamentalism, with a particular focus on those who become extremists and fanatics. What accounts for the violence that emerges among some fundamentalist groups? The contributors to this book identify several factors: a radical dualism,…Read More »

Values, Empathy, and Fairness across Social Barriers (Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences)

Oscar Vilarroya, Scott Atran, Arcadi Navarro, Kevin Ochsner, Adolf Tobena What makes suicide bombers capable of sacrificing themselves for a belief? Why do members of one race believe they are superior to another? How do subliminal messages affect the outcome of political polling? Using the tools of neuroscience and social science, researchers have learned a…Read More »

Crimes of War: Iraq

Edited by Robert Jay Lifton, Richard Falk, and Irene Gendzier Crimes of War—Iraq provides a comprehensive legal, historical, and psychological exploration of the war in Iraq from the same editorial team whose 1971 Crimes of War was a landmark book about Vietnam and the revelation of American war crimes. The editors apply standards of international…Read More »

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