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Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

2010

Identity

University of South Florida

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Eriksonian Identity Theory In Counterterrorism, Cally O'Brien Oct 2010

Eriksonian Identity Theory In Counterterrorism, Cally O'Brien

Journal of Strategic Security

Certain terrorists come from unexpected backgrounds. They give up comfortable lives and opportunities in order to wage jihad. Their existence has puzzled various theorists since they came to light. This article will explain how a theory of psychosocial identity formation created by Erik Erikson and his student James Marcia may explain this phenomenon. It will also explain how Erikson's theoretical legacy has contributed to current attempts at increasing moderation in the Middle East through education. Many of those attempts reflect ideas that are drawn from Eriksonian theory, although they are not typically described in Eriksonian terms. Meanwhile, while some theorists …