Journal of Law and Policy

First Page



This Article analyzes the psycho-social causes of terrorism, conceptual failures of deterrence, and sketches a coherent bi-furcated model of counterterrorism under a policy-oriented framework with the role of relevant domestic and international actors, methodologies, and the identification of prototypical societal insecurity drivers. It argues that there is a lacuna in counterterrorism policy that has failed to bridge the gap between the different social sciences and law leading to a failure to develop a fundamentally inclusive and coherent counterterrorism model which strikes at the heart of terror recruitment. It calls for a causal model that applies the multi-disciplinary efforts of all social sciences and particularly that of law, politics and social psychology. It should be evolutionary, intellectually-based and customized to each at risk community. This Article argues that contemporary international counterterrorism policy relies largely on military/law enforcement models grounded in general deterrence rationales that are conceptually flawed, inconsistent with applicable theoretical assumptions of law compliance sounding in perceived legitimacy, and ineffective when applied to group crimes such as terrorism. Drawing from the insights of social science, criminology and law, it argues that communities whose social identity is threatened, sense of group security is precarious and subject to unfair treatment will not be deterred from terroristic conduct under securitization approaches, which paradoxically leads to counter-productive consequences of enlarged terror recruitment. It calls for a focus on, and providing demonstrable incentives for, targeted radicalization-prevention to change extremist group narratives and shrink terror recruitment by undertaking the resolution of long-standing socio-political-economic disputes and human rights inequities incumbent to the discourse.