Lone Wolf Terrorism as Performance

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Spaaij, Ramon (2013) Lone Wolf Terrorism as Performance. In: Fifth annual international crime, media and popular culture studies conference, September 23-25, 2013, Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice, Indiana State University, Indiana State University, Terre Haute, Indiana, USA. (Unpublished)

Abstract

Terrorism is a performative act that seeks to communicate symbolic messages to a global audience. This talk positions the ‘lone wolf’ terrorist within this theater of terror. By definition, the lone wolf is a solo actor whose activities are not directed by any outside command or hierarchy. The archetypal lone wolf who lives in self-imposed reclusion, such as Ted Kaczynski, has become a figure of folk legend that permeates popular culture as well as official counter-terrorism discourse, which portrays lone wolves as a serious threat because of their critical advantage in avoiding detection because they do not communicate with others. This representation is problematic because it conceals the dynamic relations between lone wolves, their social environment and wider society. Lone wolves are not as ‘lone’ as is often thought. They tend to communicate their intent to commit violence using media technologies such as Web sites, chatrooms, or online forums. Their action repertoires are influenced by, and seek to influence, broader communities of belief that are available to them through media and popular culture.

Additional Information

Keynote address presented on Wednesday 25th September 2013

Item type Conference or Workshop Item (Keynote)
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/25006
Subjects Current > FOR Classification > 1602 Criminology
Current > Division/Research > College of Sports and Exercise Science
Keywords performative act, symbolic messages, global audience, self-imposed reclusion, Ted Kaczynski, action repertoires, violence
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