psychosocial dimensions terrorism




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The U.S. Department of State publishes a list of foreign terrorist organizations. Because of this label, many Americans lack the understanding of what these groups are trying to accomplish. You will hear broad, media-fed statements like, “They want us to live in the Stone Age,” or “They are opposed to our (Western) way of life.” Although these statements may contain some truth, they very often do not fully define what these groups are trying to accomplish. Without this information, how can the government effectively combat these groups’ actions? The reality is that they cannot. The misconceptions are not limited to the general public; many in government are also guided in some cases by them.

In this assignment you will select one of the individuals from each of the following lists – one pre-WWII terrorist or mass killer and one modern day terrorist or mass killer – and you will compare and contrast these two individuals in terms of profile, background, education, and techniques used.

Pre-WWII Terrorists/Mass Killers


  • Maximilien Robespierre
  • John Brown (abolitionist)
  • Gavrilo Princip

Modern Day Terrorists/Mass Killers

  • Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold
  • Timothy McVeigh
  • Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab
  • Ted Kaczynski
  • Anwar al-Awlaki

Assignment Guidelines


  • In 8–10 pages, address the following for the 2 individuals that you have selected:
    • A biography of the selected individuals.
      • Background
      • Education
    • Goals (defined between political and ideological)
    • Motivations
    • Terrorist organization association
    • Area(s) of operation
    • Methods of engagement
    • Legitimate functions (political, social, etc.)
    • Psychological and cultural makeup
  • For this assignment, you must utilize 4–6 scholarly sources.
  • Compile your responses into your final paper, and submit the file to your instructor.
  • All sources must be referenced using APA style.




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