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Abstract

Social psychological research on the consequences and antecedents of terrorism are reviewed, and implications for conflict management are discussed. The research is theoretically and socially interesting because it deals with the intersection of identity and psychological threat with political choices in conflict. A model of identity politics and agentic normative influence is described which draws attention to the importance of stopping the spread of terrorist identity and norms as the key challenge in counter-terrorism. An identity politics approach would argue that terrorists should be defined narrowly, while non-violent leaders of the terrorists’ constituents should be recognized and rewarded as representatives of their constituents. As such, the analysis suggests a pessimistic prospect for terror in the 2010s.