Terrorism and Small Groups: An Analytical Framework for Group Disruption

Justin Reedy, John Gastil, Michael Gabbay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Terrorism scholarship has revealed the importance of small groups-both cells and leadership groups-in the proliferation of violence, yet this field remains only loosely connected to small group theory and research. There exists no systematic consideration of the role that group dynamics play in the disruption of terrorist activities. This article proposes an analytical framework for terrorist group disruption that shows how the goals and methods of counterterrorist intervention intersect with small group behavior. We use this framework to theorize how three intervention types-repression, manipulation, and persuasion-interact with group variables and processes, such as communication networks, social identities, group cohesion, and intragroup conflict. Seven theoretical propositions demonstrate how the framework can show how the direct and indirect effects of group behavior can augment or undermine counterterrorist strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)599-626
Number of pages28
JournalSmall Group Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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