Terrorist Attacks

Terrorist Attacks in Europe

Terrorism and Network Ties – the Influence of Personal Contacts on the Preparation of Terrorist Attacks in Western Europe

Matthias Böhme, from the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law, made a contribution to the 2012 Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology, in the category “Traditional and New Forms of Crime and Deviance,” under the title “Terrorism and Network Ties – the Influence of Personal Contacts on the Preparation of Terrorist Attacks in Western Europe”. Here is the abstract: Based on Granovetter's idea of strong and weak personal network ties, the presentation discusses the influence of personal contacts on a terrorist group's structure and modus operandi. While traditional terrorist organizations rely more or less on cells, which are bond to and controlled by the organization via strong personal ties, groups of terrorist networks like Islamic terrorism in Western Europe depend on strong personal ties within the group and mainly loose connections to a broader network and unknowing supporters. This trend eventually leads to lone operators, whose terrorist connections consist entirely of weak ties. Such a development enhances security for terrorist actors. However, they also suffer from difficulties in hindsight to resources and coordination, which limits their choice of targets to those that are difficult to defend like public transport systems.

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Further Reading

  • “Terrorism and Network Ties – the Influence of Personal Contacts on the Preparation of Terrorist Attacks in Western Europe”, by Matthias Böhme (Proceedings)

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