Lone Wolves: Updating the Concept of Enemy in the Social Media Age

Lone Wolves: Updating the Concept of Enemy in the Social Media Age

Primavera Fisogni (Editor in Chief at La Provincia Di Como, Como, Italy)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/ijcwt.2014010105


Some recent events raise new questions concerning the evolution of global terrorism, especially the Boston Marathon's bombing (15th April, 2013) and the Woolwich killing (22nd May, 2013). Differently from Al Qaeda traditional strategy of random attacks causing mass murders, these two episodes seem to belong to so called “lone wolves” category. The aim of this paper is to explore whether this definition really fits to the brutal episodes. The author takes a critical look at recent attempts to reduce both the events to the responsibility of loners: The author will argue that the Tsarnaev brothers and the killers of the innocent soldier in Woolwich update not only the global terrorism dynamics, but also the category of enemy, in the social media age.
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Ordinariness, Not Pathology

The profile of global terrorists is a question for philosophy, since 9/11, especially because it brings to surface the phenomenology of dehumanization. How is possible – in brief – that ordinary people might kill innocent victims without being hurt? In recent years American scholar Nancy Hartevelt Kobrin explored, with a sensitive approach, the condition of Islamic terrorists, in particular suicide terrorists in terms of the schizoid-label (DSM-IV, 1994). Her investigation applies a psychoanalytic theory and relates the terrorists’ behavior to the frame of the so called Early mother. More precisely, Hartevelt Kobrin assumes that, at the very heart of suicide terrorism the relation between mother and child (who grew up as a terrorist) is activated. The attack represents the maternal link that can be said responsible of the “schizoid character type” of bombers. She also notices that the term schizoid “is used clinically to describe such characteristics as distancing from avoiding, and orbiting around people rather than relating to them directly” (Kobrin, 2010: p. 39). Moving from psychoanalytic suggestions (she quotes the working paper “Engineers of Jihad”, by Diego Gambetta and Steffen Hertog), the author concludes that “much work need to be done” in this theoretical field so strictly related to anthropology.

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