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The Spectacular FewPrisoner Radicalization and the Evolving Terrorist Threat$
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Mark S. Hamm

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814725443

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814725443.001.0001

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Pathways to Terrorism

Pathways to Terrorism

Chapter:
(p.81) 5 Pathways to Terrorism
Source:
The Spectacular Few
Author(s):

Mark S. Hamm

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814725443.003.0005

This chapter draws upon four paradigmatic U.S. cases from the Prisoner Radicalization/Terrorism Database and examines them under the lens of life-course theory. One looks at the white supremacy movement and another examines the threat posed by Somali gangs. The other two cases interrogate the threat of lone-wolf terrorists—one influenced by Prison Islam and the other inspired by an Internet-recruiting campaign by Anwar al-Awlaki. This analysis provides a social context for understanding how a stretch in prison contributed to a radicalization process that led to bona fide acts of terrorism during the post-9/11 era. While radicalizing in prison is certainly important, it is only one of several key turning points along the pathway to terrorism.

Keywords:   life-course theory, white supremacy movement, Somali gangs, lone-wolf terrorists, Prison Islam, Anwar al-Awlaki, radicalization process, terrorism

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