The undeniable reality of the ‘war on terror’, radicalisation and sanity

Ahmed, S. 2021. Forthcoming. The undeniable reality of the ‘war on terror’, radicalisation and sanity. in: Oxford Handbook of Radicalisation and Mental Health: Terrorism, Violent Radicalisation and Mental Health Oxford University Press.

Chapter titleThe undeniable reality of the ‘war on terror’, radicalisation and sanity
AuthorsAhmed, S.
Abstract

This chapter explores the relationship between ‘structure, mental health (agency-emotions-trauma) and radicalisation’. It uses Cohen’s States of Denial as a Freudian meta narrative to explore how denial operates to protect individual’s sanity against the atrocities and suffering in the world. It demonstrates how the denials of injustice, suffering and erosion of human rights in the ‘war on terror’ are exposed by Islamists and form part of their counter narrative to the ‘war on terror’.
The chapter contends that this exposure of harmful realities leads to overwhelming emotions that individuals struggle to regulate, and it is the need for support, understanding and compassion in dealing with such emotions that leads individuals to seek out extremist groups. It is argued that public services must support emotional resilience, and the absence of these services represents a continuing academic and policy neglect of how societal structures and institutions impact individuals’ beliefs and emotions and form part of their experience of victimisation.

KeywordsWar on terror, sanity, denial, emotions, radicalisation, trauma
Book titleOxford Handbook of Radicalisation and Mental Health: Terrorism, Violent Radicalisation and Mental Health
Year2021
PublisherOxford University Press

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