Significance Quest Theory as the Driver of Radicalization towards Terrorism

Arie W. Kruglanski, Michele J. Gelfand, Jocelyn J. Bélanger, Malkanthi Hetiarachchi, Rohan Gunaratna

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Among the defining characteristics of the 21st century's first decade has been the specter of terrorism that threatens world stability and security. Although the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, as well as those in Bali (2002), Madrid (2004), and London (2005) attracted major attention, the problem of terrorism and political violence is considerably more dispersed as hundreds (Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, 2005) of terrorist groups carry out lethal attacks in various parts of the world on a nearly daily basis. Following the tragic events of the 9/11 in 2001, former President George W. Bush declared a global war on terror that is now in its 12th year. To date, the United States' counter-terrorism strategy deployed onto the world stage has claimed billions of dollars and thousands of lives, including those of innocent civilians (laconically described as “collateral damage”). There is no question that the determined struggle against terror by the US and its allies has had impressive successes: Elimination or arrests of major Al-Qaeda leaders, dismantlement of terrorists' logistical infrastructures, disabling of their financial networks. However, despite all these achievements, several roadblocks remain en route to conciliation and harmony in intergroup relations. Indeed, experts disagree as to whether we are safer now than on the eve of 9/11 as Islamic extremism seems far from subsiding and radicalization seems on the rise in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. There is a growing danger that the Arab Spring is turning into a deadly winter, as the waves of democracy meet the rocks of fanaticism….

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationResilience and Resolve
Subtitle of host publicationCommunities Against Terrorism
PublisherWorld Scientific Publishing Co.
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781783267743
ISBN (Print)9781783267736
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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