Typology of Terrorists

Brian Levin, California State Univ. - San Bernardino

Using a broad definition of terrorism, this paper will identify three broad categories of terrorists who are analyzed by their motivation. The categories consist of those who are motivated by a political or religious belief sysytem, those who have psychological dysfunctions, and those who seek personal benefit or revenge. In addition the paper will present a detailed discussion of subcategories within the main ones that are presented. Various terrorist offenders who fit into specific categories and sub categories will be identified and analyzed, as well as those hybrid actors who share characteristics between categories. The benefits and shortfalls of these categorizations will be discussed, as well as their potential application to government officials, law enforcement, researchers and others.

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Updated 05/20/2006