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Choose one of the following questions chane

  1. Kai Erickson, a well known sociologist, posed a difficult question to sociologists, “If we grant that human groups often derive benefit from deviant behaviour, can we then assume that they are organized in such a way as to promote this resource?” Critically analyse and respond to this question by analysing the issues associated with one of the issue topics below.

  2. “Fundamentally, the problem of crime and deviance can be traced back to one simple fact – money. Access to wealth and economic power lies at the heart of all of the problems of crime and deviance.” Critically analyse this statement with respect to one of the issue topics below.

  3. “The most helpful way to approach the study of crime and violence, even when studying violence of the most heinous kind, is to assume that the behaviour is rational.” Critically analyse this statement with respect to one of the issue topics below.
  4. “Social order, not social disorder, generates the problem of crime and deviance” Critically analyse this statement with respect to one of the issue topics below.

  5. “Values, feelings and emotions are central to human rationality, not peripheral to it. For this reason they are also central to crime and deviance.” Critically analyse this statement with respect to one of the issue topics below.

The topics you may choose from are listed below

  • Suicide in Australia (if you choose this topic you may alter the questions above to fit e.g. question 2 would read “Fundamentally, the problem of suicide can be traced back to one simple fact – money ..

  • Industrial disasters
  • The witchcraze
  • Sport and sexual assault (tbc)
  • Terrorism or counterterrorism
  • Cults or religious extremism

Rational and Righteous Behaviors of Terrorists

The topic of the essay is terrorism and counter terrorism and the implications of considering terrorism as acts that can be rationally justified by terrorists. The essential focus of the study is to find out whether terrorist activities are considered to be rational or righteous behaviours by the people that engage in these activities. Subsequently, the effective analysis of terrorist activities is required through the consideration that activities of violence are rooted in the assumption that they can be supported as rational activities. Some of the most gruesome crimes in the world have been committed as the perpetrators thought that it was being done for a just cause. Approaches towards crime such as these can help to effectively tackle the various issues that may lead to the further spread of terrorism and similar crimes. If the crimes can be studied taking into consideration the rational motives of the criminals it can help to determine the factors that affect the criminal tendencies and the major implications of the matter (Farrington 2017). The study has to effectively analyse crime and the perception of rational behaviours among criminals.

Criminal activities can be traced back to a dominant mind-set among criminals that the activities done by them are actually rational considering their position and the situational requirement. Terrorism has been and ongoing problem across the world for a long time. It has only evolved in various ways throughout this time (Moffitt 2017). Ultimately, although many effective steps were taken to contain the influences of terrorist organizations, terrorism as a whole could not be eradicated. The constant influence of terrorism across the world need to be studied in accordance with the motivation that terrorist get for carrying out these heinous activities. Moreover, it has been seen that counter terrorist activities have seldom targeted innocent civilians in the name of anti-terrorist measures. In one way or the other, the motivation for terrorist activities and subsequently counter terrorist activities that are questionable are related to each other. According  to experts even the most inhuman crimes can be attributed to the fact that the perpetrators were assuming that they were doing a rationally justifiable act. Thus, at this point it becomes very important to understand the actual intentions of criminals such as terrorists. In order to study this behaviour it is important that the lawmakers and investigators essentially consider the various aspects that can lead to the justification for a crime. In case of terrorism, this philosophy is especially very relevant. Most of the terrorist activities are not directly related to money or other material gains. Mostly terrorist activities are related to factors such as religion, nationalism, identity, oppression, politics and revolutionary approaches. It is important to understand that all these factors can be used in order to justify even acts of killing, looting and genocidal tendencies. Terrorists often argue that these activities are supported by the defensive strategies that are prescribed in religious texts or as necessary activities in order for the realizations of their so called greater humanistic goals.

Factors that Lead to Criminal Tendencies of Terrorists

It is important to understand the perspectives of terrorists that forms the essential background for their criminal activities. Most of the times the issues that are used for justifying acts of terrorism are revenge. Many of the people engaged in these activities claim to be soldiers that are fighting for a just cause. Thus, it becomes essential to consider the cause as a rational concept (Ruddell and Ortiz 2015). The cause is mostly based on rational assumptions like saving one’s religion, gaining independence for one’s country or saving one’s culture from the influences of outsiders. However, the essential matter is not only related to terrorists. Counter terrorism activities have many times targeted innocent people. Crimes such as killing innocent civilians have often taken place in the name of war against terrorism (Freilich and LaFree 2015). Surprisingly, even in this case the justifications of apparently criminal activities that are done by counter terrorist forces. Counter terrorist forces that take part in acts of oppression, justify their activities stating that they are necessary for establishing law and order in a so-called insurgent controlled area. More often, an entire community or group living in an area is associated with terrorists and significant oppression and marginalization of entire groups take place.

Explanatory theories of deviance can be used in order to understand certain crucial rationales behind terrorist activities. The theories are positive in their approach towards bringing forward the actual causes behind criminal activities. Using the explanatory deviant theories it ca be stated that terrorism emerges sometimes due to the failure of the state mechanism (Henslin et al. 2015). Moreover, terrorist activities are seen to rise more in countries that are ruled by oppressive regimes. Thus, the people often tend to take up arms and develop a negative approach towards ousting the forces that engage in persecution. Thus, at times people resort to terrorism as a form of protest against an unfair government mechanism. However, the country specific issues do not bind the explanations for criminal activities (Kruglanski et al. 2014). The world order is much blamed for the terrorist activities and the deaths that are caused due to it. Similarly, the rationale by perpetrators that they are doing it to ensure national security support counter terrorist activities that can sometimes go to the extent of becoming crimes. The explanatory theories mostly assign a cause and assume crimes to be the effect of the specific identified causes. They argue that criminal tendencies among a large number of people can arise from the social order that essentially aggravates criminal tendencies (Hirschi 2017). Historic religious subjugation of certain groups in certain parts of the world can be said to be the cause for religious terrorism that emerged in these parts. In the constructionist theory individual or subjective perception of criminals are given preference while trying to understand the issues that contribute to their crimes (Farrington 2017). It is somehow related to the objectives perspectives of the explanatory theory, however at the same time it is highly subjective and considers to a great extent the personal experiences of criminals. Terrorists often are subject to environments that can make them negative in their approach towards adverse conditions. For example- the person that is treated unfairly due to the state mechanism and has faced discrimination of some kind can develop deviant tendencies. This may lead an individual to develop inclinations towards terrorist activities (Schuurman and Horgan 2016).

Implications of Counterterrorism Activities

The theory of rational choice often attributes criminal tendencies among people to the desire to meet some common needs and wants of daily life. If an individual or group decides that there are certain things that they do not have or rather are not entitled to have due to the state mechanism, they can resort to criminal activities based on how important they perceive getting the thing to be. This is important to understand for the criminal investigators and in context of the study, the investigators of terrorist activities (Farrington 2017). Both the subjective perspectives and the objective perspectives of perpetrators that are engaging in terrorist activities at a global level need to be essentially taken into consideration. This theory is different from the deviant theories as it states that there must be some aspects in order for the rationally motivated criminal activities. The major aspects are availability of targets, the offender’s motivation and the ineffectiveness of authority for the prevention of the crime (Gleditsch and Polo 2016). In case of terrorism, it can be said that the target is more often either vulnerable groups that are identified with the oppressors or the state mechanism. Thus, the target can either be common people in mostly urban sectors or government offices, government projects or top government agents. Either the motivation in case of terrorism comes from nationalistic passion, religious extremism or revolutionary desires (Ruddell and Ortiz 2015). All of the factors can crucially contribute towards the terrorist’s motivation. Lastly, the unavailability of any significant figures of authority can be the lack of security concerning the target area of terrorists. The lack of security in the major centres of the city or country. Moreover, the lack of government knowledge about the existence of terrorists can be a motivation factor. All these factors are combined when terrorist activities are witnessed. Thus, rationally considering all essential factors that can help terrorists to achieve their goals, the outlook of the terrorists can be essentially affected (Martin 2018). Similar motivations can also be existent for counterterrorism activities that can be termed as harsh or even criminal. In that case, counter terrorism forces can sometimes consider a group as a target group that are potentially terrorists. The motivation can be the war against terrorism. The lack of authority can mean the vulnerability of the group concerning their influence on the government mechanism.

It becomes very important for investigators and analysts that deal with the subject of terrorism and counterterrorism that the various socio-economic, political, philosophical, religious, ethno-cultural and locational backgrounds are effectively analysed and evaluated (Radzhabov et al. 2017). It becomes very important to treat potential terrorists as rational beings at first. This helps to form a clear impression about the factors that may lead to normal people to support or engage in terrorist activities. There are many essential advantages of having a clear perception about the rational behaviours of criminals behind heinous activities of violence. An essential advantage in the context of terrorism and counterterrorism is that the ground level issues that are contributing to the growth of terrorism can be checked to some extent (Egloff 2016). Socio-economic problems often lead to religious fundamentalists, ultra-nationalists and sectarian forces taking advantage of the situation. Thus, more often the recruits for terrorist organizations are marginalized youths. Their behaviours are generally motivated through largely rational perspectives of the youths concerning the society and various oppressive forces that affect them (Enders, Hoover and Sandler 2016). Opportunities of criminal activities can depend on the element of protest, utopian inclinations, religious supremacy or even ethnic cleansing that might highly motivate the perpetrators engaging in terrorist activities. Rational thinking often motivates criminal intentions of terrorists greatly. However, unlike the economic factors that motivate other criminals, the rational motivations of terrorists are on a much larger and idealistic plain than that of other criminals. The rational motives that often guide terrorists depend on greater organizational motives and inclinations. Adverse socio-economic, cultural and ethnic backgrounds many times back the motivations for terrorism (Varvin 2018). Understanding the rational standpoints behind even the cruellest of crimes committed by terrorists can help the investigators to understand the quantitative and qualitative implications of the situations that have resulted in those crimes. Moreover, rational thinking will help to identify the rational motives of the leaders of various terrorist organizations.

Different Theories of Deviance for Understanding Terrorist Activities

Defiance among criminals can emerge out of social inequalities and constraints. Similarly, among terrorists the constraints and oppressive mechanisms of the socio-political environment can give rise to criminal tendencies that can based on significantly rational outlooks. As an example inequalities in opportunities in ethnically diverse nations often lead to sectarianism and subsequent inclination of the affected youth towards terrorism activities (Archetti 2015). Additionally, politically marginalized ethnic group can be essentially influenced by terrorist organization citing discrimination as a reason. Religious perspectives that might influence people to assume that apparent terrorist activities are normal and rationally supported through various religious literatures (Knoke 2015). Without the proper knowledge of how rational tendencies can give way to the justification of criminal activities, a strong prevention framework cannot be established. Counter terrorism activities thus, essentially need to focus on how rational approaches can make people justify heinous terrorist activities (Farrington 2017). If the rational tendencies of the people behind terrorism can be identified the issues that are leading to these activities can be prevented. Thus, it is important to approach counter terrorist activities through action plans that will focus towards developing preventive measures that can be implemented in situations that can give rise to terrorism. In the rapidly changing global situations, it has become extremely important to thoroughly consider the issues that lead to the sustainability of crime and tackle them accordingly.

It can be said that just like other rational behaviours, criminal activities can also be the effect of purely rational thinking. The shortcomings of the administrative mechanisms can be taken advantage of through criminal activities. Similarly differently motivated crimes such as terrorism can also arise from the incompetence of the administrative forces. It is important to consider that crimes are more often than not carried out by people that have either been oppressed or people trying to take rational advantages of the flaws of the system. Counter terrorism can therefore be enhance through better understanding of situations and rational perspectives that often lead to terrorism.

References

Archetti, C., 2015. Terrorism, communication and new media: Explaining radicalization in the digital age. Perspectives on Terrorism, 9(1), pp.49-59.

Egloff, G., 2016. Ten Theses on the Spirit of Terrorism. Int J Terrorism and Political Hot Spots, 11(1), pp.13-27.

Enders, W., Hoover, G.A. and Sandler, T., 2016. The changing nonlinear relationship between income and terrorism. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 60(2), pp.195-225.

Farrington, D.P., 2017. A general age-graded theory of crime: Lessons learned and the future of life-course criminology. In Integrated developmental and life-course theories of offending (pp. 175-192). Routledge.

Freilich, J.D. and LaFree, G., 2015. Criminology theory and terrorism: Introduction to the special issue.

Gleditsch, K.S. and Polo, S.M., 2016. Ethnic inclusion, democracy, and terrorism. Public Choice, 169(3-4), pp.207-229.

Henslin, J.M., Possamai, A.M., Possamai-Inesedy, A.L., Marjoribanks, T. and Elder, K., 2015. Sociology: A down to earth approach. Pearson Higher Education AU.

Hirschi, T., 2017. On the compatibility of rational choice and social control theories of crime. In The reasoning criminal (pp. 105-118). Routledge.

Knoke, D., 2015. Emerging trends in social network analysis of terrorism and counterterrorism. Emerging Trends in the Social and Behavioral Sciences: An Interdisciplinary, Searchable, and Linkable Resource, pp.1-15.

Kruglanski, A.W., Gelfand, M.J., Bélanger, J.J., Sheveland, A., Hetiarachchi, M. and Gunaratna, R., 2014. The psychology of radicalization and deradicalization: How significance quest impacts violent extremism. Political Psychology, 35, pp.69-93.

Martin, G., 2018. Essentials of terrorism: Concepts and controversies. Sage Publications.

Moffitt, T.E., 2017. Adolescence-limited and life-course-persistent antisocial behavior: A developmental taxonomy. In Biosocial Theories of Crime (pp. 69-96). Routledge.

Radzhabov, O., Lobacheva, Z., Bagliyeva, Z., Bigayeva, Z., Magomedova, U., Mirimova, A. and Mammayev, M., 2017. Scientific and Religious Outlook. Journal of History Culture and Art Research, 6(3), pp.1421-1429.

Ruddell, R. and Ortiz, N.R., 2015. Boomtown blues: Long-term community perceptions of crime and disorder. American Journal of Criminal Justice, 40(1), pp.129-146.

Schuurman, B. and Horgan, J.G., 2016. Rationales for terrorist violence in homegrown jihadist groups: A case study from the Netherlands. Aggression and violent behavior, 27, pp.55-63.

Varvin, S., 2018. Violence or dialogue?: psychoanalytic insights on terror and terrorism. Routledge.

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