Trust and Terror – Social Capital and the Use of Terrorism as a Tool of Resistance
TRUST AND TERROR – SOCIAL CAPITAL AND THE USE OF TERRORISM AS A TOOL OF RESISTANCE
What is the relationship between interpersonal trust and domestic terrorism? While much scholarly attention has been paid to the determinants of participation in terrorism and of the prevalence of terrorist activities within societies,
little work has been conducted regarding the relationship between how people connect with others and their likelihood of participating in terrorist activities; and less, if any, scholarly research has attempted to establish a relationship between the generalized interpersonal trust or, more broadly, social capital and participation in terrorism.
The theory presented in this chapter is premised upon the notion that an individual’s willingness to trust that outside of their immediate community aﬀects the nature of the political endeavours if any, that an individual ends
up pursuing. Rooted in Robert Putnam’s seminal work, Making Democracy Work, my theory draws from the literature on social capital and
interpersonal trust’s relationship to democratic performance and political activity, and applies their concepts to study participation in domestic terrorism (Putnam 1993).
Trust and Social Capital
What is social capital? According to Knack and Keefer, “Trust, coopera-tive norms, and associations within groups each fall within the elastic
deﬁnitions that most scholars have applied to the term social capital,” and this is a position widely supported by the literature (Knack and Keefer 1997; Coleman 1990; Jamal 2007; Uslaner and Conley 2003).
While Putnam deﬁnes social capital broadly, and in a manner that invokes notions of reciprocity and civic norms within a society, the concept of generalized interpersonal trust among a citizenry lays at the heart of Putnam’s conceptualization of social capital since it is the trust-building capability of associational life that leads to greater adherence to civic norms under his theoretical framework (Putnam 1993; Jamal 2007). Indeed, the connection between generalized interpersonal trust and social capital is so