The Psychology of Strategic Terrorism: Public and Government Responses to Attack

by Ben Sheppard, Ph.D.

This new volume explores terrorism and strategic terror, examining how the public responds to terrorist attacks, and what authorities can do in such situations.

The book uses a unique interdisciplinary approach, which combines the behavioural sciences and international relations, in order to further the understanding of the 'terror' generated by strategic terror. The work examines five contemporary case studies of the psychological and behavioural effects of strategic terror, from either terrorist attacks or aerial bombardment. It also looks at how risk-communication and public-health strategies can amplify or reduce psychological and behavioural responses, and considers whether behavioural effects translate into political effects, and what governments can do to relieve this. Ultimately, the study argues that the public is not prone to panic, but can change their behaviours to reduce their perceived risk of being exposed to a terrorist attack. This book will be of much interest to students of terrorism studies, homeland security, social psychology and politics in general.

Ben Sheppard is an Adjunct Fellow at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, Washington, DC, specializing in the terror of terrorism and missile proliferation. He has a Ph.D. from King’s College London.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Overview of the key disciplines
3. Methodological Parameters
4. Israel and the Scud Missile Attacks During the 1991 Gulf War
5. The Tokyo Sarin Attack
6. September 11 Attacks
7. 2001 Anthrax Attacks
8. Israel and the Second Intifada
9. Conclusion. Selected Bibliography

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