A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism

Building Terrorism from Social Ties: The Dark Side of Social Capital


In April 1984, 25 members of the Jewish Underground were arrested by the Israeli General Security Service moments after they had planted explosives in five Palestinian-owned buses. Their arrest and sentencing brought to an end one of the more sophisticated expressions of Jewish terrorism since the birth of Israel. Overall, the group planned four operations, one of which was the conspiracy to bomb the Muslim holy sites on the Temple Mount. As we outline below, social links between the members of the Jewish Underground significantly facilitated the creation of this organization. We demonstrate that social capital, here expressed in terms of networks, trust, and norms – which are widely considered important components of a healthy democracy – can take a negative turn toward participation in terrorism.

Publication Information

Full Citation:

Asal, Victor, N'ama Nagar, and R. Karl Rethemeyer. 2015. "Building Terrorism from Social Ties: The Dark Side of Social Capital." Civil Wars 16 (February): 402-424. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13698249.2014.981942#.VPcoNPnF98M

START Author(s):