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Thread: We have no strategy: Scott Atran's thoughts

  1. #1
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Mar 2006

    Default We have no strategy: Scott Atran's thoughts

    The work of Scott Atran has popped up before; he writes as a Paris-based anthropologist and author of Talking to the Enemy (Pub. 2010). As we know liberal democracy is not under threat in Europe, it is in the USA and few places escape e.g. the Islamist murders in Turku, Finland.

    Here are two "taster" passages:
    The values of liberal and open democracy increasingly appear to be losing ground around the world to those of narrow, xenophobic ethno-nationalisms and radical Islam. This is not a “clash of civilisations”, but a collapse of communities, for ethno-nationalist violent extremism and transnational jihadi terrorism represent not the resurgence of traditional cultures, but their unravelling. This is the dark side of globalisation. The western nation-state and relatively open markets that dominate the global political and economic order have largely supplanted age-old forms of governance and social life. People across the planet have been transformed into competitive players seeking fulfilment through material accumulation and its symbols. But the forced participation and gamble in the rush of market-driven change often fails, especially among communities that have had little time to adapt. When it does, redemptive violence is prone to erupt.
    From his conclusion:
    We need a strategy to redirect radicalised youth by engaging with their passions, rather than ignoring or fearing them, or satisfying ourselves by calling on others to moderate or simply denounce them. Of course there are limits to tolerance, and dangers of worse violence in appeasement of the intolerable.

  2. #2
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Mar 2006

    Default Willing to fight and die

    An update after Scott Atran's work appeared on CNN, after an article was published in the journal 'Nature Human Behavior'.

    Citing Scott himself:
    The researchers discovered that three crucial factors motivate both ISIS fighters and those fighting them: a deep commitment to sacred values, the readiness to forsake family for those values, and the perceived spiritual strength of the group or community that the fighter represents.

    The journal article, ten pages, is temporarily freely available:

    An editorial by John Horgan on the article and a "taster" from the CNN report:
    This is an elegant theory that makes both intuitive sense but is supported by real-world data......there are common psychological threads woven into the fabric of what motivates us all to fight and die for a cause
    John Horgan's two page editorial:
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 12-26-2017 at 05:01 PM. Reason: 1,360v. Edited due to duplication by moi.

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