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Understanding the lone wolf terror phenomena: assessing current profiles


Journal abstractBehavioural Sciences of Terrorism & Political Aggression

Since September 11, 2001, various Western democracies have reformed and strengthened their national security apparatuses by introducing new organizational structures and policies to curb incidence of terrorism by violent extremist organizations. These changes have catalyzed several prominent intelligence communities into formidable challengers against large-scale centralized acts of terrorism. These successes, however, are being overshadowed by the emerging threat of lone wolf terrorism. Many scholars and policy-makers have attempted to create typologies of lone wolf terrorists by identifying behaviors akin to some type of radicalization processes. Although these potential categorizations have effectively provided reactive analysis, their research and policy prescriptions have been problematic and failed to provide proactive solutions or recommendations for law enforcement and the intelligence community. In this paper, we examine the literature on lone wolf phenomena. We then attempt to fill a gap in the extant literature by offering a new theoretical understanding of lone wolf behavior. Our proposed theoretical approach illustrates a fundamental understanding of the lone wolf terrorist through a complex hierarchical structure.

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