Date: August 19 2022
Summary: A review on how terrorism intersects with the social determinants of health
Keywords: ##bibliography #terrorism #social #determinants #health #cohesion #social #isolation #archive
H. E. Alcalá, M. Z. Sharif, and G. Samari, "Social Determinants of Health, Violent Radicalization, and Terrorism: A Public Health Perspective," Health Equity, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 87–95, Aug. 2017, doi: 10.1089/heq.2016.0016.
This paper was probably the best paper I have read on the subject of terrorism research and how it intersects with public health and the social determinants of health. It provided a comprehensive background on what terrorism and radicalism are as well as some very useful public health terminology introducing the concept of social cohesion and social capital. Furthermore, it got at the concept of how examining terrorism and gang violence from a public health perspective is very understudied and underutilized when exploring this space.
2.6% of terrorism deaths happen in the West. 72% belong to:
Afghanistan - Institute for Economics and Peace. Global Terrorism Index. New York, NY. 2015.
Terrorism associated with negative mental health outcomes in:
posttraumatic stress disorder
Amongst others - Rousseau C, Jamil U, Bhui K, et al. Consequences of 9/11 and the war on terror on children’s and young adult’s mental health: a systematic review of the past 10 years. Clin Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2015;20:173–193.
Historically public health has focused on:
Containment of terrorist fallout
What has been missing in this space is examining:
Social determinants of terrorism
Determinants for violent radicalization
Risk factors for terrorism
A case study from the United Kingdom shows that violent radicalization is an outcome of a complex interaction among social, political, cultural, historical, and interpersonal factors.7
Discrimination can be thought of as a "comorbidity" of social isolation and exclusionary behavior. One form of systematic discrimination is immigration policy as it directly contributes to social segregation.9 Feelings of marginalization have been shown to lead to decreased self-worth and, in turn, increase radicalization.57 Those discriminated against could then fall easily to extremist influence and ideology as a result of weakening social cohesion.52
A proxy to study terrorism is to study gang violence
At the individual level, gangs and terrorist organizations appeal to individuals who are psychologically deviant, have limited access to socioeconomic opportunities, or are marginalized members of society.39–44 In fact, terrorist groups attract a range of unstable individuals.45
NOTE: This seems to contradict the paper Why Do People Become Terrorists as it notes that instead, it was observed how many of these people who are not fully psychologically deviant but rather of clear mind. Furthermore, in my attempt to reconcile such different observations, I would posit that rather, both explanations and comments are valid but that "unstable individuals" seem to conflate a kind of negative aspect to a person whereas the linked paper avoids the notion of unstable persons and instead explains how most of these people are of clear opinion.
Goals generally exclusive to gangs:
Less temporary collaborations
Gang occupies physical space.46
The main difference between gangs and terrorist groups is that gangs are often not politically motivated.47
Dutch police actively sought to integrate individuals from Syria by connecting them with a psychiatrist or mentor. Then, they provided assistance to find housing or means to return to school. To round out this reintegration process, they went even further to provide "whatever they needed to fully integrate back into society."67
This approach, believes that to fight terrorism through policing and/or "profiling" will create real or perceived discrimination, humiliation, and/or marginalization. Other papers have shown this to be an accurate assessment.
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Muslim Americans who come from the Middle East are often classified as "White" by categories set forth by the Office of Management and Budget. However, this is in complete opposition to the fact that a large proportion of Muslim Americans do not identify as "White". 15 An implicit assumption and implicit problem is that people labeled "White" are assumed to be "racially neutral."15
Zelko, Jacob. Social Determinants of Health, Violent Radicalization, and Terrorism: A Public Health Perspective. https://jacobzelko.com/08192022115354-health-terrorism-factors. August 19 2022.