Terrorism and Affordance: New Directions in Terrorism Studies 9781501301155, 9781441133816

In this groundbreaking work, leading scholars and experts set out to explore the utility of the concept of affordance in

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Terrorism and Affordance: New Directions in Terrorism Studies
 9781501301155, 9781441133816

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Contributors Rosemary Alexander is currently at Cheadle Hulme School, UK. P M Currie is a Senior Visiting Fellow at the School of International Relations, St Andrews University, Scotland. He is a co-editor of the Continuum series, New Directions in Terrorism Studies and a contributor to the new edition of The Encylopaedia of Islam (Brill, 2011). His publications also include The Shrine and Cult of Muin al-din Chishti of Ajmer (OUP, 1989; reissued 1997 and 2006) and Dissident Irish Republicanism (Continuum, 2011). He holds degrees from the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford. Paul Ekblom is Professor of Design Against Crime at Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, University of the Arts London, where he works on projects ranging from preventing bag and bike theft to counter terrorism. He also develops ‘crime frameworks’ for capturing and transferring good practice knowledge in crime prevention more generally. Mats Fridlund is a senior lecturer in the theory of science at the Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science at the University of Gothenburg and associated researcher at Centre for Advanced Security Theory at the University of Copenhagen. His research focuses on the history of science and technology of terrorism and security, and he is currently working on a project on the role of technology in the origin and globalization of modern terrorism. Ken Pease is a chartered forensic psychologist, currently Visiting Professor and Fellow of University College London. Gilbert Ramsay is a teaching fellow in the International Relations department at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, where he completed his PhD. His research focuses on constraints on terrorist targeting and on the multiple consumption cultures of Al Qa’ida propaganda content.

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Jason Roach is a Chartered Psychologist and a Senior Lecturer in Criminology and Policing at the University of Huddersfield, UK. Jason has published work on topics such as offender self-selection, terrorism and other violent crime. His more recent work focuses on criminal investigative practice, cold case reviews and child homicide. Max Taylor is Professor of International Relations at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. Prior appointments include Director of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, University of St Andrews, and Professor of Applied Psychology, University College Cork, Ireland. He is a Forensic Psychologist with extensive research experience in terrorism and computer-related crime. He is currently Editor of Terrorism and Political Violence. Superintendent Phil Unsworth recently retired from Greater Manchester Police where he was responsible for leading the development of evidencebased intelligence products and creating partnerships with a range of community safety agencies. Roy Williams is a senior lecturer in the Mathematics Department at Portsmouth University, UK and is responsible for e-assessment and e-learning in Math and Computing. He has consulted on e-learning and educational media in a variety of fields, in the UK and internationally, across all sectors of education. Richard Wortley joined University College London in August 2010 as Director of the Jill Dando Institute and the Head of the Department of Security and Crime Science. His research interests centre on the role that immediate environments play in criminal behaviour, in areas including official misconduct in prison, whistleblowing in the public sector, child sexual abuse, internet child exploitation and intimate partner homicide. He has published authored books and over 50 journal articles and book chapters.

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1 Terrorism and affordance: An introduction Max Taylor University of St Andrews

The country – its physical features and population – is more than just the source of all armed forces proper; it is in itself an integral element among the factors at work in war – though only that part which is the actual theatre of operations or has noticeable influence on it. (VON CLAUSEWITZ)1

C

lausewitz’s comment on qualities of war may be familiar to students of warfare and perhaps also students of terrorism, but probably less familiar to students from other disciplines. It is a part of his discussion of the Nature of Warfare, and his commentary on the significance of terrain in warfare that the quotation above emphasizes is further developed later in his discussion of Military forces. As he notes, the structure of the ground upon which a battle is fought, and its accompanying artefacts such as hedges, fields, woods, streams and so on shape and influence the opportunities available to both an attacking and defending army. ‘The influence is always active; its degree varies according to the nature of the country’2. Clausewitz wrote in the early part of the nineteenth century for a largely military audience, principally concerned with the actual conduct of war. His readers might have had to face attacking a defended opponent, and would know from experience that the opportunity to effectively conduct an attack was limited by a range of features, the most obvious one being the nature of

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the ground on which the battle was fought. In modern parlance, we might say the environment in which the battle is fought provides, or in terms relevant to this book affords, the soldier both the possibility of certain kinds of activities and the reduction of other kinds of activities; which of these depends upon the environment and the individual soldier (or his commander). Thus, the conduct of a battle is essentially a process, an interaction of the individual (or a collective as in an army) and the context in which it is fought, that context being what might be termed a ‘meaningful environment’3. The use of the term ‘meaningful’ in describing an environment might be thought to be rather odd; it carries with it all sorts of epistemological implications. Surely, an environment of the kind Clausewitz referred to, because it is essentially physical even though of course it might be in whole or part man-made – hills, mountains, trees, woods, rivers, walls, ditches – is inanimate and is as it is, unless it is changed. How can it have a sense of meaning? The most obvious sense in which this might be the case is to note that a term like meaning in the way it has been used only makes sense when qualities of the environment are perceived and acted on in some sense by someone. Until that essentially perceptual process occurs, and is potentially evident as at least an element in a behavioural process, an environment is no more than its physical properties. Meaning gives it a behavioural significance, and in the case of Clausewitz, that significance relates to the conduct of warfare. An environment clearly has an existence outside of the perceiving individual, but meaning implies something other than physical existence. If this is correct, it also follows that a sense of meaning may be quite different for different people, because it is the perceiving person, rather than the environment, that is the critical variable, and perceiving people differ in terms of motivation, histories and expectations. The soldier contemplating an attack on an enemy located on a hill might perceive the environment in terms of the cover it affords, the ease or otherwise of ascent, etc. Someone contemplating a picnic might perceive the same hill (at another time of course!) in very different terms, where shade, view and seclusion might be qualities that matter. All of this emphasizes the significance of the relationship between the environment and behaviour. But the distinctive element of that as far as this book is concerned, is that sense of ‘meaning’ that additionally gives rise to ‘opportunity for action’ which an environment has for the individual perceiving it. The term affordance has been used to describe that sense, and this book is concerned with exploring what that concept might mean, within a narrow area of concern – terrorism. The issue is of course broader than just terrorism, and the concept of Affordance has much greater currency in areas other than those related to terrorism.

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In summary therefore, for our purposes, an affordance is the quality of an environment that enables, facilitates or makes possible an action. This is of course a very general statement, and a difficulty immediately apparent to anyone who explores the literature in this area is that the term affordance tends to be used loosely and different authors imply a variety of nuanced meanings. In this chapter, we will explore what the concept might have meant in origin, and how it has been used. As you read further into the chapters that make up this book, you will note that each author in this collection does tend to use the term in a slightly different way, emphasizing different qualities. As we will note later, that variance in use does not necessarily limit the value of the concept, and a unifying quality of all the chapters in total is to emphasize the significance of the environment as a determinant of behaviour, as the ‘agent’ that facilitates some behaviours over others, rather than seeking explanation of that behaviour ‘inside’ the organism, in terms of cognitive process, or even pathology. In terms of thinking about terrorism, this is a rather different perspective.

The book ahead This volume has its origins in a Workshop conducted in 2011. In setting the scene, participants were asked to respond to the following: ‘JJ Gibson (1979) suggested that our perceptions of the functions of objects are perceived as a direct attribute of the actions we might perform with or on those objects. This he termed the Affordance of objects. We can identify three fundamental properties of an Affordance: 1

An affordance exists relative to the action capabilities of a particular actor.

2

The existence of an affordance is independent of the actor’s ability to perceive it.

3

An affordance does not change as the needs and goals of the actor change.

Gibson’s concept is important in a number of ways, not least because it inverts the assumption that perception is both prior to and independent of action, and focuses our attention on doing and its consequences. Norman (1988) extended the concept by introducing the term ‘perceived affordance’, and by distinguishing the notion of cultural constraints (learnt conventions shared by a culture group) from the affordance qualities of objects

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and circumstances. The idea of Affordance has played an important role in computer design, usability and more generally the area of human-computer interaction. It has also been adopted in areas such as education to help explain and improve learning and teaching processes.’ The aim of the Workshop was to explore what value, if any, the concept of Affordance might have in our understanding of Terrorism and Political Violence, and in particular how it might contribute to our thinking about counter terrorism. The Workshop was structured to bring together the experience and knowledge of a range of people with varying involvement with work on Terrorism and Political Violence, and to explore through the papers presented what value if any those concerned with Terrorism and Counter Terrorism might gain from exploring this concept. The products from that Workshop are the papers presented here. There are few if any published studies that explicitly draw on the concept of Affordance and terrorism, so much of the material discussed here is based on either analogy or extension of arguments. Two broad themes can be discerned in the papers presented here – a focus on the relationship between situational crime control and affordance, and the role of affordance in theories of culture. A number of papers draw in varying degrees on crime prevention literatures to explore further what affordance might contribute – papers by Wortley, Ekblom, Pease and Roach fall broadly within this category. The further theme relates to the role of affordance in theories of culture, and Fridlund, Williams and Ramsey address these issues. Most of the chapters, as earlier noted, pick up in some measure the conceptual issues explored in this Introduction, and it is probably a measure of the complexity of this area that there is perhaps a rather unsatisfactory sense of looseness to our usage, that would probably benefit from the discipline of empirical study. Conversely of course, such looseness might be thought to have the advantage of enabling constructive exploration. In the brief discussion of the quotation from Clausewitz that began this chapter, the general approach described is what might be termed an ecological approach to human perception. It grounds our sense of perception of an environment (and therefore how we know about the environment and the world more generally) within the context of action of some form for the perceiving organism, and the qualities that the environment provide us with in terms of clues or opportunities that indicate and enable possible actions. As noted above, such clues or opportunities have been termed ‘affordances’4. ‘The affordances of the environment are what it offers the animal, what it provides or furnishes, either for good or ill’.5 The significance of the reference to ‘meaningfulness’ above now becomes more apparent, for it quite clearly relates to meaningfulness for the perceiver as he or she perceives and acts.

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The term affordance was ‘made up’6 by Gibson and the above short account describes in broad terms Gibson’s notions of the concept as he developed it. An essential element of that concept for Gibson is that behaviour is perceptually guided, where the organism ‘directly’ perceives elements of the environment that enable or afford certain kinds of behaviour. By directly perceived, Gibson means that meaning lies in the interaction of the organism and the environment; there is enough information in the environment for us to make sense of what we see. ‘One sees the environment not with the eyes but with the eyes-in-thehead-on-the-body-resting-on-the-ground’7. The concept of ‘direct perception’ is a central element in Gibson’s conceptual thinking, and three principles of direct perception can be identified – the first is that the environment has within it all the necessary elements to form an accurate perception, the second that perception is immediate and spontaneous and thirdly perception and action are linked. Thus for Gibson, perception is essentially a ‘bottom up’ process, in contrast to other approaches to perception that emphasize the significance of ‘top down’ elements dependent on cognitive processes or mental representations. To explore this further, we will use an example given by Gibson8. A near horizontal surface, that is nearly flat, extended and rigid (relative to the weight of the animal) constitutes a surface of support, which we might term a floor, or ground. In terms of its affordance qualities, it is ‘stand-on-able’ and ‘walk-on-able’ and ‘run-over-able’9 for a terrestrial animal; it is these ‘-able’ qualities that might be termed affordances. Conversely, it is not ‘sink-in-able’ like water, although as Gibson notes, ‘support for water bugs is different’10. This reference to water bugs might seem trivial, but it is important, for an affordance of support by a surface for a species of animal is of course relative to that animal. If we extend this point to our brief discussion of warfare above, the affordances of the particular battlefield may well appear very different for the defender and the attacker; the same environment affords quite different possibilities depending on the individual. Affordance therefore refers to the interaction of the organism in an environment. ‘It implies the complementarity of the animal and the environment’11. What equally follows from this if we think of a potential terrorist environment is that the affordances available for the motivated terrorist are different from those available to the counter-terrorism agencies. The potential possibilities in this case, as in others, are different for different observers. Gibson’s fundamental point is to emphasize that this is a perceptual rather than cognitive process. But affordances don’t just relate to inanimate elements of the physical environment. Other persons and animals are also part of the array of things impinging on the organism, and Gibson characterizes this essential reciprocal relationship in terms of ‘behavior affords behavior’12, which

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of course points to the notion of a complex contingent process characterizing the flow of behaviour, rather than behaviour being some kind of stochastic process. This therefore directly argues against mechanistic stimulus-response notions of the ‘flow’ of behaviour, offering instead an interactionalist model where direction and also what we might term motivation are dynamic qualities of the organism-environment relationship. Gibson drew on a rich tradition emphasizing the significance of the relationship between perception and learning, drawing on both early learning theory particularly that of Tolman13, and Gestalt theory, particularly the work of Kohler14 and the concept of ‘insight’ (which for Kohler and the Gestalt movement in general was essentially a perceptual reordering process). The Gestalt psychologists emphasized the importance of wholeness, of perception within the environment, and of the totality of elements with their environment, and in practical terms this has carried forward into modern areas of web design15. Gibson is not unique in emphasizing the significance of the relationship between environment and behaviour; nor is he the only author to recognize the significance of the relationship of specific behaviour to environmental events as part of a process. Many authors have recognized the centrality of that relationship for the control of behaviour. For example, although often misunderstood, Pavlov might be seen as one of the earliest authors who was able to demonstrate a direct learnt relationship between changes in the environment and behaviour as a process, through what we term classical or respondent conditioning. We describe that relationship as a form of learning, and Pavlov’s contribution was to recognize that certain arbitrary events in the environment (what he described as conditioned stimuli) can through a process of association with unconditioned stimuli change and come to control behaviour (resulting in a conditioned response). Pavlov essentially described a process of behaviour change, and the idea of process and change of behaviour in relation to the environment was extended by B. F. Skinner beyond the kinds of involuntary behaviours focused on by Pavlov. Skinner developed a sophisticated process account of the control of voluntary, operant or instrumental behaviour by the environment, emphasizing the role of reinforcement16 as the critical event that ‘shaped’ and eventually came to control behaviour. The central variable in Skinner’s conception of learning, reinforcement, is a stimulus that increases the probability of a response it follows. Gibson’s ideas have elements in common with this, but what Gibson did which other similar authors didn’t and which sets Gibson apart from authors such as Skinner, was to explicitly embrace and additionally associate an element of a concept of purposiveness in his account of affordance drawing to a large extent on Tolman’s theory of learning.

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Skinner comes from rather different conceptual perspectives, but in many ways a closely related concept to Gibson’s notion of affordance, having its origins in Skinners thinking, is the notion of ‘discriminative control’ over behaviour through a ‘discriminative stimulus’. A discriminative stimulus increases the probability of a response because of a history of differential reinforcement of a particular behaviour in the presence of that stimulus; it sets the occasion for that response. In the presence of a particular stimulus, therefore, an organism will do certain previously learnt things. Given that most stimuli that impinge on us are perceptual (but not necessarily so) this is similar to Gibson’s sense of the control of behaviour, in that its locus is outside of the organism, but unlike Skinner, Gibson does not necessarily refer to an explicit process of learning to describe the acquisition of affordances. Indeed Gibson seems on occasions to be asserting that the stimulus array itself has properties to facilitate but not control behaviour. Like the concept of affordance, the notion of discriminative control is empirically derived, based on experimental evidence, and relates to a process extending over time and place linking behaviour to its environmental correlates. Whatever differences there may in detail, the general principle is clearly shared. Indeed both that general principle, and a mixing of affordance and stimulus control has been carried forward into practical application by radical behaviourist authors such as Staddon17 and forms the basis of some forms of contemporary Cognitive Behaviour Therapies (including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)18). ACT therapy explicitly embraces notions of discriminative control and a concept of affordance very similar to that offered by Gibson; for example, Hayes et al.19 describe the psychological benefits that job control might offer in terms of affordance qualities in mental health and job performance contexts: ‘Job control allows workers to adjust how they contact work contingencies; but this affordance seems more likely to make a powerful difference if workers are psychologically flexible enough to engage in new behaviors’. The common link between these accounts, although differing in emphasis, is that they seek to emphasize ‘the essential complementarity between organism and environment’20 either acquired through learning or by being a part of how the world is; for both of these, in ecological terms might be seen as the ‘niche’, a functional space, occupied by the organism, describing how an animal lives in its environment, rather than a more narrow sense of where it might live. Taking this sense further, Gibson suggests that ‘a niche is a set of affordances’21. However, Gibson is at pains to distinguish his sense of ‘niche’ from something that might imply a phenomenological world, a form of mental representation or a form of private environment, in contrast to a physical environment that is in some sense ‘out there’. Real or objective or physical properties of the affordance bearer (i.e. an element of the environment) and the organism are

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what bestows an affordance on environmental qualities that are relevant to making ‘a specific behavioural activity possible’22; or as Gibson suggests ‘the meaning and value of things are what it affords’23. Thus for Gibson the sense of meaning in the environment comes from both perception and use. Where Gibson differs from Skinner and radical behaviourists is his sense of how affordances acquire their properties. For Skinner, operant learning through the action of differential reinforcement describes how stimuli acquire their capacity to control behaviour. For Gibson in contrast, the affordance properties of the environment are something outside of the organism, which are perceived as the result of an organism’s active exploration of the environment; a form of learning quite similar to that used by Kohler to describe how the apes he observed acquired complex learnt repertoires of problem solving (what Kohler termed insightful behaviour), notions drawn on by Tolman, but somewhat different from the sense of behaviour control offered by Skinner. The ‘-ableness’ quality of an affordance, therefore, lies in the interaction of the organism with the environment. The organism brings motivation, history and culture to the environment, where affordances lie in the interaction of those with the environment. We can develop this discussion in two further directions. First, it is important to note that some qualities of the environment do in fact appear to have invariant relationships with behaviour, which do not require learning; these are what we refer to as instincts. Ethologists, such as Lorenz24 and Tinbergen25 have pointed to the significance of instincts – unlearnt complex behaviour elicited by environmental stimuli, and Breland and Breland26 have described how there may be a complex relationship between learnt behaviours and instinctive behaviour. These environmental-organism qualities might well be embraced within Gibson’s use of ‘-ableness’ as an attribute of behaviourenvironment relationships, but quite clearly Gibson’s notion of affordance goes beyond a narrowly conceived sense of behaviour control characterized by instinct. Affordances, as Gibson describes them, are opportunities for action, specified by the relationship an organism has with its environment. It is rather more than a semantic point to focus on the quality of opportunity in the case of affordance, as opposed to control in the case of operant learning or instinct. As such Affordances seem much more clearly to fall within the realm of voluntary, rather than involuntary behaviours. In any environment, there are a range of opportunities available to the organism, and some of these may well be learnt, some unlearnt and some best characterized by an idea of process. What is distinctive in Gibson’s analysis is his location of our understanding of affordance as something essentially external to the organism, as a property of both the environment and the perceiving organism, and where in that interaction opportunity for action lies.

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The second direction we might explore about how affordances emerge through interaction with the environment relates to a sense in which some Affordances might be socially constructed. There is a sense in which Affordance implies interpretation of the environment, or alternatively the notion that possibility and opportunity for action lies in the individual’s behavioural repertoire. Our sense of the possibility associated with an affordance has origins in morphology, psychology and social context. Gibson would be quite familiar with such an extension.

D. A. Norman Gibson’s contribution to the Psychology of Perception is profound, and it extends well beyond his analysis of affordances. He makes complex and challenging epistemological assumptions, as well as basing his work on empirical demonstration. Gibson’s thinking was grounded in his experiences as a researcher during World War II, where as director of the US Air Force Research Unit in Aviation Psychology, he explored ways of improving pilot’s capacities through perceptual learning. His work therefore although conceptually sophisticated was firmly rooted in a sense of application. However, D. A. Norman, rather than Gibson, is probably responsible for the extension of the complex concept of affordance described by Gibson into a broader world of application and from that into popular language. Norman27 used the concept of affordance as a central element in design, and it is probably in that arena where the concept is now most familiar. Although, while Norman is responsible for popularizing the concept of affordance, he is also probably responsible (as he acknowledges28) for some of the misuse of the concept ‘Alas yes, the concept has caught on, but not always with complete understanding’29. Norman was drawn to the concept of affordance in ‘attempting to understand how we manage in a world of tens of thousands of objects, many of which we would encounter only once’30. His solution to this was that ‘. . .the required information was in the world: the appearance of the device could provide the critical cues required for its proper operation.’31 Within primarily a design-based paradigm, Norman argued32 that there were three dimensions for understanding the operation of a novel device – conceptual models, constraints and affordances. He further makes an important distinction between affordance (real affordance) and ‘perceived affordance’. Perceived affordances are determined by context, culture, instinct and mental model. By context, Norman seems to describe the organism’s environment, by culture he refers to ‘societal norms’ relating to how an object might be used, by

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instinct he draws attention to the effects of things like physical relationships, and by mental model he refers to how to a user understands and interacts with an object. Of these, we might argue that in the context of terrorism and more general problematic social behaviour, culture is the most important quality, an issue we will explore later. In the context of design, he suggests there are three kinds of cultural constraints – physical, logical and cultural. Physical constraints are variants on real affordances – there are physical boundaries that limit behaviour. In the context of the internet, Taylor and Quayle33 have made reference to such constraints as being morphological, that is to say constraints determined by the structure of both the organism and the environment (in the case of the internet by the operating systems and network properties). Logical constraints relate to the use of logic or reasoning to determine the choices made. Norman34 uses as an example where a user is asked to click on five choices where only four are visible; the person logically knows that there is one location off the screen, thus prompting the user to scroll down. Cultural Constraints describe conventions shared by a cultural group. These conventions are presumably learnt rather than inherent, although some may have more significant morphological qualities than others (such as handedness and laterality). In general, the choice of action in these circumstances is in a sense arbitrary, in that there is nothing in the system that necessarily requires it to operate in a particular way (but as noted above with exceptions). Ordering things from left to right, as opposed to right to left, might be an example of this. However, in some circumstances, these constraints are not just arbitrary, in that any random arrangement might work as well as any other. Breland and Breland,35 for example, demonstrated how behaviour is constrained by inherent physical and morphological qualities, where behaviour might drift towards instinctively or morphologically determined patterns despite reinforcement histories specifying other behaviours. A fuller understanding of the role of cultural conventions in the development of perceived affordances may be of considerable practical significance. Norman suggests conventions are cultural constraints that have evolved over time, having their origins in a Community of Practice36 to shape and determine them. Communities of Practice describe forms of informal learning characterized by mutual engagement, joint enterprise and shared repertoire. Communities of Practice can be designed and structured, or may have less formal qualities, but do represent important sources of both formal and informal learning for the individual, and have been used to describe how rather diffuse concepts like cultural values are transmitted and how change might be propagated in those values. But as Norman notes37 we should be careful not to confuse affordances with conventions. ‘Affordances reflect the possible relationships

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among actors and objects; they are properties of the world. Conventions, conversely, are arbitrary, artificial and learned’. Notions about the social construction of affordances are of course very relevant here.

The usefulness of affordance The above short discussion of Gibson’s and Norman’s use of the concept of affordance has established the broad conceptual framework that it has both grown out of and attracted. Further chapters in this book explore, often from slightly different and at times challenging perspectives, how the concept of affordance might be used in our understanding of terrorism and counter terrorism, and each author develops the sense of affordance as it applies in the chapter context. In a way affordance is quite a dangerous concept, in that it addresses a very broad array of problems, and certainly as it has developed it has lost some of its precision in use, and is now frequently erroneously used (as Norman noted earlier) at least in terms of its initial empirical grounding. What it does do, however, is focus attention away from cognitive and mental representational accounts of behaviour to emphasize the significance of the relationship between behaviour and the environment. Even in a complex area like terrorism, this relationship is in principle observable and therefore offers the opportunity for knowledge to progress based not on speculation but evidence. However, when applied to problem areas like terrorism, appeals to empirical evidence, however desirable, are inevitably going to be problematic. Actual terrorist behaviour (i.e. involvement in terrorist violence) is relatively rare and access to terrorists and their acts are difficult and problematic for practical, legal and moral reasons. Less rare, but more problematic, is the extent to which we might think of terrorist behaviour as support, rather than action, towards political violence. On the other hand, there is a growing awareness of the weakness of much current thinking about terrorism, and frequent appeals for a more empirically grounded analysis of terrorist related behaviour38. Perhaps one of the greatest appeals of the concept of Affordance is that it may offer a way forward of bridging the gap between concept and evidence in situations that limit the availability of direct empirical verification. However, engaging with the concept in this way places a premium on conceptual clarity in using the term. In origin, Gibson very firmly grounded his sense of affordance in the observable and the empirical. He sought to define

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the term as changes in and the result of empirical variables. Although not a term used either by Gibson or Norman, both would probably have identified the concept of Affordance as a form of ‘Intervening Variable’39, a concept firmly grounded in empirical findings. MacQuorquodale and Meehl define intervening variables as ‘a quantity obtained by a specified manipulation of the values of empirical variables; it will involve not hypotheses as to the existence of nonobservable entities or the occurrence of unobserved processes’40. As they note, this might be characterized by what Carnap41 describes as ‘dispositional concepts’. Used in this way, Affordance might be best thought of as something essentially operationally defined, and Gibson’s frequent appeals to empirical verification suggest something similar. However, in contemporary usage, the concept of Affordance seems to have shifted its status more closely to what MacQuorquodale and Meehl identified as a ‘hypothetical construct’, an explanatory construct that is not directly observable and with properties that are not necessarily verifiable in terms of empirical research. Both forms of theorizing may be of value, but it is important to recognize the relevant status of the concepts. The most significant reason for this lies in the ability or otherwise to prove or disprove the concept; in the case of intervening variables, some sense of verifiability follows from its relationship to empirical variables, in the case of hypothetical constructs, this source of verifiability is lacking. This does not mean that hypothetical constructs are lacking in explanatory power, or that they are in some sense necessarily of less value. But it does suggest caution over extending the role given. Contemporary usage of Affordance has tended to move more towards it having the status of hypothetical construct, and while its explanatory appeal may be broadened, it does so at the cost of empirical verification and anchoring. This is particularly the case where Affordance is used within a social or cultural context. Much of both Gibson and Norman’s work concerned quite narrowly defined behaviours, with limited recognition of the social context in which they occurred (other than to acknowledge the affordance qualities of social context, and to locate physical properties within a social arena). On the other hand, if (as Gibson acknowledges) other people and their social and cultural contexts are elements in the array of things that have affordance qualities, then quite clearly social context, including interaction, was always envisaged to be an element in the array of affordance bearing objects. Given this, it probably is the case that the richest and most significant environmental affordances are provided by other people and animals.42 Indeed Gibson notes that ‘Sexual behavior, nurturing behavior, fighting behavior, cooperative behavior, economic behavior, political behavior – all depend on the perceiving of what another person or other persons afford, or sometimes on the misperceiving

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of it’43. Koffka44 makes reference to the ‘demand character’ of objects, and it may well be that similar demand characters apply to social situations, in that relationships, encounters and associations trigger (or afford) particular kinds of behaviours. Thus, in this way the idea of complex social relationship can become included within an overall affordance model. It is less easy to see, however, how a strict sense of empirical verification can support such notions. In this lies one of the great challenges around use of the concept of Affordance in understanding terrorist behaviour. Affordance offers a bridge from which terrorism can be viewed locating it within a broader essentially empirical context, but its empirical status is challenged and limited at the moment. However, and perhaps, this is its greatest benefit, by framing terrorism from an Affordance perspective it makes possible a reshaping of ideas into a more verifiable form.

Final comments ‘Physical force is always harder to exert in an upward than in a downward direction, and this must also hold true of an engagement. We can cite three obvious reasons. First of all, high ground always inhibits the approach; second, though it does not add perceptibly to range, shooting downward, considering all the geometrical relations involved, is perceptively more accurate than shooting upward; and third, heights command a wider view.’ (von Clausewitz)45 This further quotation from von Clausewitz, rather like the quotation that began this chapter, essentially talks about the relationship between warfare and the physical environment, which in contemporary terms, and certainly in the terms we have explored in this chapter, might be characterized in terms of Affordances. Although von Clausewitz was essentially a theoretician, his writing is characterized even now by a profound sense of reality, showing a very clever melding of theoretical interpretation leavened by practical and insightful observation. von Clausewitz was a soldier and had experience of the things he writes about, and in his writing, the practicality of warfare is so apparent. And it is in a similar sense of practicality, in understanding the detail of movement in relation to the physical, social and psychological environment that the concept of Affordance in relation to terrorism is in my view so important. It draws us into exploring terrorism from a practical perspective; it offers us a range of conceptual tools to restructure our thinking, and in doing so it places a premium on testing out that thinking by reference to empirical analysis.

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As noted earlier, the concept of Affordance also offers a bridge between different conceptual perspectives. The study of terrorism has tended to be dominated by relatively narrow paradigms drawn from disciplines like Political Science, where collective and social qualities are frequently privileged over other kinds of explanations. Indeed, our sense of terrorism as a form of political violence often unquestioningly assumes a collective (or political) context, a context furthermore that is often expressed in ideological terms. But there are alternative ways of conceptualizing terrorist violence46 that do not necessarily privilege this kind of collective quality, and explanations based on Affordance fall into this category. One of the great challenges in the analysis of terrorism and terrorist behaviour lies in understanding the sense in which we can describe terrorist behaviour as an individual act, and the sense in which those actions are influenced by collective or group pressures or forces. Most acts of terrorism are essentially solitary acts – an individual blows him or herself up in a suicide attack, a sniper shoots, a bomber plants a bomb. By firmly locating choice of action (from an array of possibilities) as an element of the stimulus array perceived by the organism, both Gibson and Norman essentially focus on the external and the personal as agent. Presumably when we think of Affordance within a terrorism context, we will look at environmental qualities that enable or afford motivated terrorist behaviour. The critical value of Affordance is that it enables a range of potential forces to be brought together: Affordance, emphasizing as it does individual, social and cultural qualities may well offer an alternative route towards new analyses. Such analysis is badly needed.

Notes 1 von Clausewitz, C. (1993). On War. London: Everyman’s Library, p. 88. 2 Ibid., p. 416. 3 Gibson, J. J. (1986). The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception. New York: Psychology Press, p. 127. 4 See Gibson, J. J. (1966). The Senses Considered as Perceptual Systems. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, and Gibson, J. J. (1986). 5 Gibson, J. J. (1986), p. 127. 6 Ibid., p. 127. 7 Ibid., p. 205. 8 Ibid. 9 Ibid. 10 Ibid. 11 Ibid. 12 Ibid., p. 135.

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13 Good, J. and Still, A. (1986). Tolman and the Tradition of Direct Perception. British Journal of Psychology, 77, 533–9. 14 Kohler, W. (1925). The Mentality of Apes. Republished London: Routledge, 1999. 15 See, for example, http://sixrevisions.com/web_design/gestalt-principlesapplied-in-design/. 16 This was probably best and most accessible expressed in Skinner, B. F. (1965). Science and Human Behavior. Free Press. 17 Staddon, J. E. R. (2003). Adaptive Behavior and Learning. New York: Cambridge University Press. 18 Hayes, S. C., Strosahl, K. D., and Wilson, K. G. (2003). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: An Experiential Approach to Behavior Change. New York: The Guilford Press. 19 Stewart, I., Barnes-Holmes, D., Barnes-Holmes, Y., Bond, F. W., and Hayes, S. C. (2006). Relational Frame Theory and Industrial/Organisational Psychology. In S. Hayes, F. W. Bond, D. Barnes-Holmes, and J. Austin (eds) Acceptance and Mindfulness at Work: Applying Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Relational Frame Theory to Organisational Management Change. Howarth Press, p. 117. 20 Scarantino, A. (2003). Affordances Explained. Philosophy of Science, 70, 949–61. 21 Gibson, J. J. (1986). 22 Scarantino, A. (2003). 23 Gibson, J. J., Reed, R., and Jones, R. (1982). Reasons for Realism; Selected Essays of James J. Gibson. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. 24 Lorenz, K. (1961). King Solomon’s Ring. (trans. Wilson, M. K.). London: Methuen. 25 Tinbergen, N. (1951). The Study of Instinct. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 26 Breland, K. and Breland, M. (1966). Animal Behavior. New York: The Macmillan Company. 27 The most comprehensive and accessible account of Norman’s views can be found in Norman, D. A. (1988). The Psychology of Everyday Things. New York: Basic Books. 28 Norman, D. A. (1999). Affordances, Conventions and Design, Interactions, Vol. 6, 3, May–June, 38–42. 29 Ibid., p. 39. 30 Ibid., p. 39. 31 Ibid., p. 39. 32 Norman, D. A. (1988). 33 See Taylor, M. and Quayle, E. Criminogenic Qualities of the Internet in the Collection and Distribution of Abuse Images of Children. In J. McCarthy, E. Quayle, S. Aylwin, and F. Lyddy. Applying Psychology: A Festschrift for Dr Elizabeth A. Dunne, Irish Journal of Psychology, 29, 119–30, 2008; and Taylor, M. and Quayle, E. The Internet and Abuse Images of Children; Search, Precriminal Situations and Opportunity. In R. Wortley and S. Smallbone (eds) (2006).Situational Perspectives of Sexual Offences Against Children’. Crime Prevention Studies Series (jointly published by Criminal Justice Press (US) and Willan Publishing (UK). 34 Norman, D. A. (1999).

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35 Breland, K. and Breland, M. (1966). 36 Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 37 Norman, D. A. (1999). p. 42. 38 See, for example, Understanding vulnerability and resilience in individuals to the influence of Al Qa’ida violent extremism. A Rapid Evidence Assessment to inform policy and practice in preventing violent extremism. Home Office Occasional Paper 98, November 2011. 39 MacCorquodale, K. and Meehl, P. A. (1948). On a Distinction between Hypothetical Constructs and Intervening Variables, Psychological Review, 55, 95–107. 40 Ibid, p. 103. 41 Carnap, R. (1936). Testability and Meaning, Parts I–III. Philosophy of Science, 3, p. 440. 42 Kaufmann, L. and Clément, F. (2007). How Culture Comes to Mind: From Social Affordances to Cultural Analogies. Intellectica, 2007, 46, 1–36. 43 Gibson, J. J. (1986). p. 135. 44 Koffka, K. (1935). Principles of Gestalt Psychology. New York/Harcourt: Brace World. 45 von Clausewitz, C. (1993). p. 420. 46 Taylor, M. (2010). Is Terrorism a Group Phenomenon? Aggression and Violent Behavior, 15, 121–9.

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2 Affordance and situational crime prevention: Implications for counter terrorism Richard Wortley University College, London

T

he term affordance occurs only occasionally in the situational crime prevention (SCP) literature (e.g. Ekblom and Sidebottom, 2008; Garwood, 2011; Taylor and Quayle, 2006). Nevertheless, largely without realizing it, those interested in SCP utilize the concept of affordance routinely in their theorizing and practice. Both affordance and SCP are based on an ecological view of human behaviour, one in which individuals and their immediate environments are interdependent and reciprocally interact with one another. More particularly, both are concerned with the uses to which an environment, or an object within an environment, may be put in order to allow an individual to perform certain behaviours. This paper examines the contribution that the concept of affordance makes to the counter-terrorism enterprise, as viewed through the lens of SCP. The analysis involves a two-staged process. First, the relationship between the affordance construct and SCP is explored, with the principles of SPC reframed in language of affordance. Next, these reframed principles are applied to the problem of counter terrorism. The paper concludes with an examination of the advantages of incorporating the concept of affordances into the SCP model.

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Affordances in situational crime prevention SCP involves altering those aspects of the immediate environment that facilitate the occurrence of crime. The situational approach shifts the traditional focus in criminology on the distal causes of criminality (genes, upbringing, social inequality and so forth) to the proximal causes of the crime event. As far as the offender is concerned, SCP is only interested in his/her thoughts and behaviours in the here-and-now. According to Clarke (2008), offenders make a judgement about whether or not to commit crime based on their perception of the costs and benefits that criminal behaviour will deliver. These judgements are made utilizing situational cues provided at the crime scene. Situational interventions involve manipulating these environmental cues in order to tip the cost-benefit analysis in favour of abandoning the contemplated crime, for example, by making performance of the crime too risky or difficult (Cornish and Clarke, 2008). The goal of SCP is to create safe environments rather than safe individuals. An affordance may be defined as that which is offered or provided to an individual by the environment. Beyond this broad definition, there are two main models of affordance. The original conceptualization of the construct by Gibson (1977) emphasized the independence of affordance from the observer’s capacity to perceive it. An affordance is an inherent quality of an object that exists when an action is possible, within the physical limitations of the observer, even if the observer does not recognize the affordance potential. Norman (1988), on the other hand, conceptualized affordance in terms of both ‘the perceived and actual properties of a thing . . . that determine how the thing could possibly be used’ (p. 9, emphasis added). According to Norman, the observer plays a role in defining the affordance of an object by drawing on his/her individual experiences and frame of reference. Further, objects suggest their uses. A doorknob ‘invites’ people to turn it; a red button ‘asks’ to be pushed. Designers can take advantage of the concept of perceived affordance by providing clues to users about how things should operate. Some objects signal greater affordance for a particular purpose than do others. From the descriptions of SCP and affordance provided above, it is clear that there is much in common between the two concepts. An affordance may be thought of as an opportunity for action, while situational crime prevention is based on the assumption that crime is a function of opportunity. The main point of departure for the two approaches concerns how affordance principles are applied in practice. Most applications of affordance research are concerned with designing-in functionality; for example, by facilitating human-computer interaction (HCI) (McGrenere and Ho, 2000) or by improving the liveability of

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the built environment (Maier et al., 2009). SCP, on the other hand, is concerned with designing-out functionality, at least as far as the performance of criminal behaviour is concerned. The aim of a situational prevention intervention is to make the affordance properties of the immediate environment less conducive to crime. To illustrate the differences between Gibson’s and Norman’s understandings of affordance, and how their respective definitions might apply to the problem of SCP, consider the following scenario. A would-be burglar enters a property and looks for opportunities to break inside. He observes an open window some 2 metres above ground level, too high to access unaided. Looking around the backyard he spies a garden setting comprising four chairs and a table. He judges that standing on one of the garden chairs will provide an adequate boost to get into the window, but that the climb will still require effort. Instead, he drags the long rectangular table across to the window, leans it lengthways against the wall with the legs facing outwards, and using the table legs to gain a foothold, climbs to the top of the table and enters the dwelling through the window with ease. In this scenario, both the window and the table have combined to afford access to the dwelling but for this exercise let us focus on the role of the table. The affordance properties of the table according to Gibson and Norman are summarized in Table 2.1. Norman’s conception of affordance, with its emphasis on individual perception, is closer to the spirit of SCP than is Gibson’s. Clarke (2008) argues that we must understand the attractions and drawbacks of crime as the offender sees them. The offender’s decision is the product of bounded rationality, limited by his/her emotions, values, experiences and cognitive capacity. The environment must be interpreted and there will be individual differences in the way that this occurs, leading to variations among individuals in their perception of the criminogenic affordance possibilities of objects and environments. Of particular interest, experienced offenders have been found to be more adept at assessing criminal opportunities – ones that afford more rewards and entail fewer risks – than are inexperienced offenders. For example, professional burglars – in contrast to novice burglars and non-offenders – utilize ‘standing decisions’ to rapidly interpret environmental cues in order to select suitable houses for burglary (Bennett and Wright, 1984; Garcia-Retamero and Dhami, 2009). Signs of perceived affluence are important attractors and are judged by factors such as the décor and general upkeep of the house, evidence of expensive fittings and the type of car that residents own. Risks are assessed by scanning for signs of occupancy (are the lights on? is there uncollected mail in the letterbox? are there toys strewn on the front lawn?), the presence of cover from prying eyes (a high fence or tall shrubs) and the availability of escape routes (the house is on a multiple intersection or backs onto a

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Table 2.1 Comparing Gibson’s and Norman’s concept of affordance Gibson’s affordances Affordance properties

Example

Independent of the actor’s ability to recognize action possibilities

The table can be used as a climbing aid whether or not the burglar realizes it.

Does not change with the actor’s needs and goals

The table can be used as a climbing aid whether or not the individual intends to break into the dwelling.

Relative to the actor’s physical capabilities

The table can only be used as a climbing aid if the burglar is sufficiently agile.

A dichotomous construct (i.e. affordance is either present or not present)

Both the chair and the table can be used as climbing aids.

Norman’s perceived affordances Affordance properties

Example

Dependent upon the actor’s experience and knowledge

An experienced burglar may more readily recognize the climbingaid potential of the table than an inexperienced burglar does.

Perceived properties may not exist

The table may be too weak to take the burglar’s weight.

Objects suggest their uses

The legs of the table resemble the rungs of a ladder.

A continuous construct

The table is a better climbing aid than that of the chair.

Adapted from McGrenere & Ho (2000)

lane-way). As Norman might have put it, some houses afford greater opportunities for burglary than do others, and the recognition of these affordance properties is dependent upon the offender’s knowledge and experience. The crime prevention strategies suggested in our scenario involve closing off opportunities for action by altering the affordances of the objects used to carry out the burglary. Most obviously, a locked window affords less opportunity for entry than an open one. With respect to the table used to gain access to the window, its affordance properties (as far as burglary is concerned) may be neutralized by securing it to the ground, locking it in the garden shed when not in use or replacing it with a smaller, circular model. Looking more generally at the environmental factors identified in research as conducive to burglary, residents might be advised to keep their car in their garage so that its value cannot be assessed, leave their lights on

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Table 2.2 Translating SCP concepts into the language of affordance Concept

SCP definition

Affordance translation

Crime facilitators

Objects or things that are used by the offender to assist in the performance of crime

Objects or things that afford the offender the ability to commit a crime

Hot targets

Desirable targets for crime because of the benefits they offer the offender

Desirable targets for crime because of the benefits they afford the offender

Hot locations

Desirable locations for crime Desirable locations for crime because they contain hot targets because they afford risk-free and entail minimal risks access to hot targets

while they are away, ensure a neighbour collects their mail, cut shrubs to allow visibility from the street and so on. Affordance maps onto a number of SCP concepts (Table 2.2). In SCP terminology, the table used by the burglar to gain entry into the dwelling is referred to as a crime facilitator. Crime facilitators are things in the environment that aid the performance of crime but are not themselves the target of that crime. By and large, crime facilitators are objects for which offenders see affordance possibilities that vary from those imagined by the designers of that object. Staying with the example of burglary, alcohol consumed before a burglary for ‘Dutch courage’, a crowbar used to jimmy a window, a flashlight used by the burglar to find his/her way around the dwelling and a car used to transport stolen goods from the premises are all crime facilitators. The targets of crime can also be analysed in terms of their affordances. ‘Hot’ targets are people or objects that offenders especially want to injure, possess or otherwise offend against. Burglars, for example, are selective in what they steal. They target things that are CRAVED, an acronym for objects that are concealable, removable, available, valuable, enjoyable and disposable (Clarke, 2002). Digital cameras, mobile phones, laptop computers jewellery and so on are all CRAVED objects for theft, that is to say, they afford the burglar maximum return (personal enjoyment or monetary gain) for least effort (easy to steal and to convert to cash). There are also ‘hot’ locations. These are places that afford many criminal opportunities, either because security is poor (e.g. a car thief targeting an unattended car park) or there is a congregation of potential targets (e.g. a pickpocket targeting a train station packed with commuters). Note that hot locations have both a spatial and temporal aspect, and the criminogenic affordance of a location may be dependent upon time. A train station is not such a desirable location for a pickpocket outside of rush hour and is completely useless for pickpocketing when it is closed.

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Implications for counter terrorism The principles of SCP have begun to be applied to the problem of terrorism, most notably and comprehensively in Clarke and Newman’s (2006) Outsmarting the Terrorists, and Freilich and Newman’s (2009) edited collection Reducing Terrorism through Situational Crime Prevention.1 As with the approach taken for everyday crime, analysing terrorism from a situation perspective involves focusing on the immediate dynamics of specific events. The historical roots of the terrorist’s cause and the broader sociopolitical context in which the terrorist act occurs – the focus of most traditional analyses of terrorism – form a relatively minor part of the situational analysis. While the grievance that is being prosecuted by the terrorist might help explain the selection of some terrorist targets, the prevention of terrorists acts – at least in the immediate term – cannot rely on changing the ‘hearts and minds’ of the terrorists. Moreover, Clarke and Newman argued that the role of political motives in terrorist acts is often overstated. Many of the motives of terrorists are the same as those of common criminals – the desire for excitement, camaraderie, status, sex (albeit, perhaps, provided by 72 virgins in the after-life) and monetary gain. Nor does the situational approach focus on terrorists as individuals. Terrorist threats cannot be eliminated by ‘taking-out’ known terrorists or identifying potential terrorists. For every terrorist killed or captured there is another ready to take his/her place. Likewise, there is little mileage to be had in developing profiles of likely terrorists based on racial, sociodemographic and personality variables. The enormous false-positive count yielded by such prediction tools renders the exercise largely futile. Rather than focus on political solutions that address the terrorists’ grievances, or target individual terrorists to incapacitate them, SCP seeks simply to reduce the opportunities that allow terrorist acts to occur. Clarke and Newman (2006) identified four ‘opportunity structures’ that permit terrorism – terrorism targets and three types of terrorism facilitators; tools, weapons and social conditions – all of which may be understood in terms of their affordances.

Terrorism targets On the face of it, there is an unlimited number of potential terrorism targets available and the task of protecting each of them is daunting if not impossible. However, targets vary widely in extent to which they suit the terrorist’s purposes. Building on their CRAVED approach to identifying desirable

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targets for theft, Clarke and Newman argued that ‘good’ targets for terrorism must satisfy certain criteria, which they describe using the acronym EVIL DONE; high-risk targets are ones that are exposed, vital, iconic, legitimate, destructible, occupied, near and easy. In the language of affordance, EVIL DONE defines the perceived and actual usefulness of buildings, facilities, infrastructures and locations as terrorist targets. Identifying targets that best satisfy the EVIL DONE criteria allows security personnel to prioritize prevention efforts. By way of example, let us analyse the attack on the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers in 2001 in terms of EVIL DONE. Once the tallest buildings in the world, the Towers were very visible features above the New York skyline, offering a highly exposed target for aircraft. The Towers played a vital role in the US economy, housing offices and corporate headquarters for some 500 companies, including Delta Airlines, Salomon Brothers, Bank of America and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (CNN.com, 2001). The Twin Towers were iconic and instantly recognizable features of the New York skyline, the subject of postcards and used in tourist promotions. As a symbol of US capitalism, the Towers also were regarded as legitimate targets by the terrorists, and the North Tower was a previous target of Islamic terrorism in 1993 (National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, 2004). Against the onslaught of two aircraft the Towers proved to be destructible. The attack on the Towers began at 8.45 in the morning when they were likely to be fully occupied, and ultimately 2606 people were killed. While the terrorists involved in the attack originated from the Middle East, they had been living in the US for up to 18 months to be near to their targets. Finally, while the attacks involved elaborate planning that began years before, the commandeering of aircraft to use as weapons proved to be a relatively easy operation, involving few sophisticated tools or weapons. Once high-risk targets have been identified, the prevention task may be conceptualized as altering the properties of the potential target such that it is no longer fit for the terrorists’ purposes. This may involve increasing the effort required of terrorists by employing target-hardening strategies – closing streets, erecting walls and barriers, installing bollards, screening visitors, using bomb-and fire-resistant designs and materials and so on (Clarke and Newman, 2006). In the case of the Twin Towers, criticisms have subsequently been made of the original design that allowed the buildings to be so destructible (Usmani et al., 2003). Prevention may also involve increasing the risk to terrorists by strengthening surveillance – employing guards, installing CCTV and training staff and the public to recognize suspicious behaviour – or building and locating high-risk facilities unobtrusively so as not to not draw attention to them (Clarke and Newman, 2006).

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Tools Terrorism tools refer to the paraphernalia required by terrorists to support their activities. Tool may include identity documents (passports, visas, driver’s license, marriage certificate) to enable international travel and/or to establish bona fides when renting a car, booking a room or opening a bank account; vehicles for domestic transport; money and credit cards to purchase materials; places to lodge while planning the attack; mobile phones and email accounts to communicate with other terrorists; and books, websites and maps from which to glean information about targets. None of these tools are specifically designed to aid terrorism; all have legitimate affordances. Clarke and Newman (2006) argue that many of these tools satisfy the CRAVED criteria, and are similar to the objects sought by ‘common’ criminals. Likewise, terrorists also often acquire these tools illegally. Prevention involves restricting access to these tools or otherwise preventing them from being utilized for illegal purposes. Strategies may include greater checks and controls over the opening of bank accounts and the transfer of money; forgery-proof identity documents; more stringent border controls; and enhanced internet surveillance and mobile phone tracking (Clarke and Newman, 2006). In the case of the 9/11 terrorists, for example, four passports were recovered from the 19 terrorists and all showed evidence of having been tampered with or forged (National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, 2004).

Weapons Weapons refer to the objects used to wreak destruction and include guns, explosives and weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) such as biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. To describe the qualities of a ‘good’ weapon Clarke and Newman (2006) developed the acronym MURDEROUS, standing for multipurpose, undetectable, removable, destructive, enjoyable, reliable, obtainable, uncomplicated and safe. Multipurpose weapons, such as small arms (rifles and pistols), are ones that can be used over again and for a variety of purposes. Undetectable weapons can be easily concealed (e.g. small hand guns) or can pass through screening devices (e.g. plastic explosives). Removable weapons can be easily transported or stolen. Destructive weapons, such as explosives, cause as much damage as possible. As noted earlier, the motives of terrorists are often similar to those of other criminals, and enjoyable weapons may be selected because they are exciting to use.

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For a weapon to produce reliable results the terrorists may require practice in its use and it may need to be trialled before deployment. Moreover, terrorists must be able to obtain access to the weapon, and obtainable weapons are easily purchased or stolen. Weapons must be uncomplicated and easy to use, requiring minimal expertize and training. Finally, weapons must be safe for the terrorists to use. Even in the case of suicide bombing where the terrorist is blown up along with the victims, the explosives need to be set so that they do not go off prematurely. There were two kinds of weapons used at different stages of the Twin Towers attack. First, the terrorists needed to obtain a weapon in order to take over control of the aircraft. They needed something that was easily obtainable that could be concealed and would pass through airport security, but was also potentially deadly. The hijackers legally purchased box-cutters and multifunctional hand tools (marketed as Leatherman) shortly before the hijacking and it is believed that these were used to take command of the aircraft (National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, 2004). Second, the terrorists needed a destructive weapon capable of destroying the Twin Towers. The earlier terrorist attack on the North Tower in 1993 involved setting bombs in the underground garage. The bombs killed six people and caused considerable but localized damage that did not affect the structural integrity of the building. On 9/11, of course, the aircraft were used as weapons and the Towers were destroyed. Prevention based on controlling weapons might include restricting weapons sales, reducing explosive’s shelf-life, using chips to track weapons, controlling information about weapons use and better border screening for weapons (Clarke and Newman, 2006).

Social conditions Facilitating social conditions do not refer to specific objects within an environment but to broader social systems and infrastructures that make terrorist acts possible. Relevant social conditions include the prevailing political, financial and law-enforcement systems in which terrorists operate and/or carry out their terrorist acts. Depending on the quality of these systems, it is easier for terrorists to operate in some regions, countries or societies than in it is in others. Terrorism is facilitated by endemic corruption, the lack of political transparency and administrative inefficiency. In some cases, there may be active support for the terrorist cause at a governmental level and among the citizens.

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Facilitating social conditions cover a wide spectrum of factors. By way of illustration, Clarke and Newman (2006) discuss the preconditions for laundering money in order to finance terrorist attacks. Money laundering is easiest in countries in which (among other factors) there are ineffective anti-laundering laws; the banking system is understaffed or staff are poorly trained; there is tight bank secrecy; accounts can be opened anonymously or on the basis of inadequate identification; and monitoring of currency movements is ineffective. In the case of the 9/11 terrorists, the operation was said to have cost Al Qa’ida $400,000–500,000, a small portion of a much larger war-chest ($30 million per year) accumulated largely through donations by wealthy supporters throughout the Middle East (National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, 2004). Money was transferred around Pakistan and the Middle East via an informal banking system (hawala) that sits outside the formal, regulated banking system. Once in the US the terrorists either carried money they had been given into the US or accessed foreign accounts from the US. According to the 9/11 Commission report, the terrorists ‘moved, stored, and spent their money in ordinary ways, easily defeating the detection mechanisms that were in place at the time’ (p. 169). Strategies that might be directed against facilitating social conditions include tightening identity authentication by financial institutions; destroying safe houses and training camps; better tracking of financial transactions; better ties between police and at-risk immigrant communities; and humane treatment of prisoners and clear rules for the interrogation of suspects (Clarke and Newman, 2006).

What does the concept of affordance add to SCP? At the time that Gibson began formulating his ideas on the perception of the environment in the early 1950s (Gibson, 1950, 1955)2, SCP as a formalized way of understanding and responding to crime did not exist. Whether Clarke, a psychologist, was aware of Gibson’s work when he developed SCP from the mid-1970s (Clarke, 1980; Clarke and Martin, 1975) is not clear. At any rate, he made no mention of the construct, and the term has rarely been used by subsequent SCP researchers. Nevertheless, as demonstrated in the previous sections, there is a close link between SCP concepts and the affordance construct, and the approach taken to counterterrorism by SCP can be readily interpreted in terms of affordances. This, however, begs the question: has SCP simply (and apparently

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independently) developed another way of describing affordances? In other words, what does affordance add, if anything, to SCP? The answer to this question, it is suggested, is that affordance brings a different theoretical understanding to the person-situation interaction that potentially enriches SCP. Central to the concept of interaction is the idea of bidirectional causation, by which the environment affects the individual and the individual in turn affects the environment (Wortley, in press). Both SCP and affordance are based on this reciprocity principle. They differ subtly, however, in their respective emphases. As a broad characterization, where SCP is concerned with what the person draws from the environment, affordance is concerned with what the environment offers the person. There are a number of theoretical perspectives that can be used to underpin the logic of SCP, but the dominant model in the field is the rational choice perspective (Cornish and Clarke, 1986, 2008). The rational choice perspective has its roots in operant conditioning and in the informationprocessing model of cognitive psychology. It portrays offenders as active scanners, consumers and processors of environmental data. Their behaviour is determined by their assessment of the opportunity structures that they encounter. The offender acts upon the environment and may manipulate it to suit his/her needs. This can certainly be described as a person-situation interaction – the offender judges that the particular situation offers a favourable crime opportunity (the environment affects the person), and then he/she proceeds to commit the crime (the person affects the environment). However, it is an interaction in which the offender remains in the driving seat. In the default model, the offender is seen to arrive at the crime scene already motivated to commit a crime and he/she is in charge of the effect that the environment has upon him/her. The situation is merely the provider of data that he/she may accept or reject, a process that remains under rational control. Contrast this view with the portrayal of affordance. The starting point for Gibson was the inherent quality of environmental elements and how those elements dictated the behaviour of users. As far as the perception of those elements by the individual goes, Gibson rejected both operant conditioning and the information-processing approach to cognition that underpin rational choice (Gibson, 1966). He argued instead that affordances may be perceived directly, bypassing symbolic cognitive mediation and influencing individuals below the level of phenomenal consciousness. Further, in Norman’s reformulation of perceived affordance, individuals do not just respond to objects based on their existing needs and motivations (the basis of rational choice) but objects play a role in initiating behaviour by advertising their uses. Perception of an object can change the motives and goals of the person.

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Gibson’s and Norman’s understanding of the person-situation interaction fits more closely (though does not exactly mirror) the concept of crime precipitators (Wortley, 1997, 2001, 2008), developed as a companion to rational choice. Crime precipitators are aspects of the immediate environment that actively induce criminal behaviour, creating or intensifying criminal motivations in individuals who may not have otherwise contemplated committing a crime at that time or place. Four ways that situations might actively encourage criminal responses were suggested. Situations can present cues that prompt the individual to perform criminal behaviour, they can exert social pressure on an individual to offend, they can induce moral disinhibition and permit potential offenders to commit illegal acts and they can produce emotional arousal that provokes a criminal response. Like Gibson’s affordance, crime precipitators were conceived to operate largely at a sub-cognitive level, and to influence individuals in ways over which they have little control or in ways of which they may not even be aware. Further, the idea that the immediate environment may entice individuals to offend plays into Norman’s conception that objects suggest their uses. A wall that is festooned with graffiti attracts new graffiti because it overtly signals to observers that one purpose of the wall is to act as a surface for tags. Thinking about the environment in terms of its behaviour-inducing qualities has important implications for crime prevention. Prevention based on rational choice requires the implementation of opportunity-reduction strategies – making it more difficult, less rewarding and more risky to carry out intended behaviour. Opportunity reduction is sometimes characterized as ‘hard’ prevention since the purpose is to restrict, constrain or thwart individuals in their active pursuit of crime (Wortley, 1997). However, the side effects of hard prevention may include frustration and reactance, both of which are counterproductive for prevention. For example, a sign forbidding graffiti may itself become a prime target for graffiti in an explicit act of defiance. Manipulating the precipitators of crime, on the other hand, aims to prevent the motivation for crime arising. This may be referred to as ‘soft’ prevention. Rapid cleaning of graffiti removes the stimulus for crime so that the issue of constraining behaviour and generating defiance does not arise. Moreover, taking SCP and affordance together provides a fuller understanding of the person-situation interaction. The reciprocal nature of the interaction only comes through giving equal consideration to the perspectives of both the offender and the environment. Reciprocity, in turn, produces interactions that are iterative, dynamic processes. A person-situation interaction is not a single data-point, but a behavioural sequence comprising a chain of connected interactions. A computer chess game demonstrates this principle. The player responds to a move made by the computer which in turn responds to the move

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made by the player and so on. The individual and their environment evolve together. The end-point of a person-situation interaction cannot necessarily be predicted at the onset of the interaction; the direction that the behaviour takes will depend upon the outcome of each successive interaction. There has been some research in SCP on crime as an extended sequence of events. Most notably, script analysis attempts to set out the typical sequence of events involved to carry out specific crimes (Cornish, 1994). For example, the script for burglary typically involves the burglar acquiring the tools required to break into a house, obtaining a car, arriving at a likely suburb, driving around and selecting a target, entering the house, selecting specific items to steal, leaving the house, storing the stolen good and finding a market for those goods. However, scripts are essentially normative sequences of required activities. The goal of a script analysis is to account for the typical crime; they are not frameworks designed to track dynamic variations among offenders in the crime commission process. Closer to the view of the person-situation interaction as an iterative process is Indermaur’s (1996) analysis of the interactions between robbers and their victims. He interviewed 88 perpetrators and 10 victims of violent property crime about the progression of the offence from beginning to end. He found that the behaviour of the perpetrator depended upon the reactions of the victim. In particular, signs of resistance from the victim were pivotal points in the transaction, inducing in perpetrators a sense of ‘righteous indignation’ and leading to an escalation of violence. Indermaur advised victims of violent crime to adopt non-confrontational responses to the robber’s actions in order to reduce the violence of the offence (an example of soft prevention). Returning to the issue of counter terrorism, this fuller conception of the person-situation interaction – one that incorporates the invitational qualities of the environment and the iterative nature of behavioural events – may provide a more nuanced account of terrorist events and lead to the consideration of alternative prevention strategies. For example, consider the case study presented by Freilich and Chermak (2009), in which a far-rightist in the US shot dead a police officer. The offender was initially stopped by a police officer for speeding. While being questioned by the officer, the offender fled the scene in his van. A chase ensued and eventually the abandoned van was located near the suspect’s residence. More police arrived and the offender took up a position inside his house and began firing on police, killing one officer. Tear gas was fired into the house, police stormed inside, arrested the offender and found a cache of weapons and ammunition. Freilich and Chermak note that there were a number of opportunity-reducing strategies that might have been employed to help prevent the murder (e.g. the wearing of protective armour by police). However, they also analysed the exchanges between

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the police and the offender both initially when the offender was pulled over for speeding, and later when he barricaded himself in his residence. Police actions, they contended, unintentionally escalated the violence. For example, after the offender had retreated to his residence, but before any shots were fired, police approached the house with weapons drawn. From the offender’s extremist perspective, the sight of armed police coming towards him confirmed his worst fears about living in a police state. His options, as he saw them, narrowed as events unfolded and his cache of guns that was at hand seemed to offer – afford – him the only solution to his problem. Softer, non-confrontational strategies by police might have circumvented the tragic trajectory that the police-offender interactions ultimately took.

Summary The concept of affordance is implicit in SCP but is only rarely made explicit. Both SCP and affordance are concerned with the uses to which objects in the immediate environment may be put in the performance of goal-directed behaviour. Consequently, an analysis of counter terrorism from an SCP perspective is readily interpretable in terms of what is afforded by the immediate environment to carry out terrorist acts. SCP largely involves reducing the opportunities available in the immediate environment for terrorism, a process that is analogous to altering the affordances of things within the environment that may be targeted by terrorists or used by terrorists to facilitate their activities. SPC and affordance, however, have different theoretical bases that lead to somewhat different emphases. In particular, it was argued that the rational choice underpinnings of SCP portray offenders as the active consumers and assessors of environmental data (what the offender draws from the environment). Affordance, on the other hand, implies a somewhat subtler role for the environment in which the specific environmental elements invite certain responses (what the environment offers the offender). Taking these two perspectives together suggests more attention might be paid to analysing terrorist events as a connected but dynamic sequence of personsituation interactions.

Notes 1 A distinction can be made between academic approaches to terrorism and the approaches taken routinely by security and law enforcement agencies. In truth, SCP is largely neglected in the terrorism literature. In contrast,

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many of the practical steps taken to prevent terrorist attacks are purely situational, even if these interventions are not labelled as such nor explicitly informed by the SCP literature. Bollards in front of vulnerable terrorist targets, security checks at airports and government buildings, restrictions on the sale of products than can be used to make explosives, the use of CCTV and so on, are all situational strategies. Clarke and Newman argue that such strategies might be much more effective if they were deployed more rationally and systematically according to established situational prevention principles. 2 Despite this seminal work, the term affordance was not used by Gibson for another two decades (Gibson, 1977).

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3 Conceptual and methodological explorations in affordance and counter terrorism Paul Ekblom University of the Arts, London

A

ffordance is a concept that is both rich and fundamental, connecting with many fields. As a ‘crime scientist fallen among designers’, I have to be sensitive to many of these connections. Until the opportunity arose to attend the conference that originated this book and then to prepare a presentation and this paper, however, I must confess that for me, affordance was one of those concepts that one uses in a casual, even a cavalier, way, without much attention to definitional issues. But now I know better. I have a long-standing interest in defining, exploring, classifying, integrating and differentiating terms and concepts (Ekblom, 2011) as tools for our thinking, communication and action. Such tools are necessary even in dealing with everyday crime; they are vital in the battle of wits and the arms race with terrorists, many of whom may have sophisticated operational and innovative capacities (Ekblom in press (a)). In this chapter, I begin to apply this conceptual approach to affordance. A first Googling of affordance leads straight into Wikipedia1, and straight into a definitional conundrum. The originator of the concept, Gibson (1979), saw affordance as covering all action possibilities latent in the environment, objectively measurable and independent of the individual’s ability to recognize them. However these always relate to the actor and therefore depend on

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the actor’s capabilities. As a cognitive psychologist, his interest was in distinguishing between perceiver and perceived. Norman (1988) restricted the term to only those action possibilities that are readily perceivable by an actor. More broadly, affordance depends not only on the physical capabilities of an actor, but also on their goals, plans, values, beliefs and past experiences. This definition better suits designers, more particularly interaction designers. Norman later conceded that his concept should be acknowledged (effectively) as a subsidiary of Gibson’s, and termed the subsidiary perceived affordance. (Gaver (1991) identified the complementary concept as ‘hidden’ affordance, and an extra concept as ‘false affordance’ where the actor gets it wrong and attempts, metaphorically, to flog a dead horse.) But designers, being an illdisciplined breed, have somewhat run away with affordance, as Wikipedia again notes, and have stretched it to refer to where an object or system’s action possibilities are easily discoverable. To be useful in thinking and communication, tools must be sharp and fit for purpose. The current state of play resembles, for example, the confusion over the term ‘vulnerability’. In a security context, Ekblom and Sidebottom (2008) noted four different meanings of this central concept within use in the security world, and in the course of trying to put things right developed a whole suite of interlocking and mutually consistent definitions covering an entire domain. With affordance, the task is not straightforward – among other things, as seen above, different disciplines have adopted different usages. Forging and testing a usage of affordance, perceived or otherwise, fit for crime science and counter terrorism may be important. However, the harm from persistent woolliness is matched by that of premature articulation. Every tool has to go through a period of evolution and development, following, at a cultural level, the developmental psychologist Piaget’s (2001) twin processes of adaptive learning. Assimilation is where an existing mental concept or schema encounters a new experience and fits it within that framework. For example, a radical new lock can still be considered an example of target-hardening. Accommodation is where the framework itself has to adjust to something that won’t easily fit. For example, a wheelie-bin fitted with a flexible lid that doesn’t support the weight of an intruder trying to climb over a wall is a case of targetsoftening (Ekblom, 2011).2 In this chapter, therefore, I don’t seek to arrive at a definitive destination but merely to explore definitional possibilities – a first mapping of the conceptual terrain rather than construction of a highway. I therefore consider affordance in relation to a range of concepts which are themselves somewhat interrelated: causation and human agency; perception, both alone and in relation to goals; risk and opportunity; ‘vicarious’ affordance on the part of crime preventers seeking to ‘think terrorist’; and the dynamics

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of offending.Since we are roaming over a multidimensional mind-map, don’t expect a neat linear progression – there will inevitably be some looping and re-crossing of territory. There will also be a rather unruly blend of the pure and the applied. And there may or may not be a satisfying destination for the journey.

Affordance, causation and human agency Conventional Situational Crime Prevention (e.g. Clarke, 2008) focuses on environmental causes of behaviour, with a limited ‘default model’ of the offender in the background; but a wider picture may be more rewarding (Ekblom, 2007). Humans are here considered caused agents (Ekblom in press (a)) – active, goal-seeking, planning and choice-making agents, but whose perceptions, motivations and emotions are simultaneously understandable in cause-and-effect terms. We are thus both causing and caused. With affordance, the emphasis here is mainly, but not exclusively on the causing, agency, side.3 One advantage, incidentally, of referring to agents rather than people is that corporate organizations and purposive networks can be covered too. A functional equivalent of affordance at group level has yet to be elaborated but may be of value in countering terrorism and organized crime. At the very least this could involve perception by individual members that some object, person or state of affairs perceived is useful in pursuit of corporate, rather than personal goals – ‘the explosives guy could exploit that pillar’. But whether the group or organization as a whole could be said to have a functional counterpart of a perceptual system that is capable of its own kind of affordance remains for now an interesting speculation. As part of the richer view of humans, Wikström (2006) envisages a perceived-affordance-like process where people lacking a criminal predisposition do not see criminal opportunities that offenders do, hence are simply not faced with a moral choice whether, say, to steal an unattended, unlocked car. Garwood (2009) building on this and other sources, empirically demonstrated that those (students) who self-report a high offending rate also generate more criminal uses for everyday objects. For example, ‘a criminal use for a wheelie bin would be to “stash and move stolen goods”, or “to imprison an enemy”; a sports car, “have sex in it” or “go road racing”. A non-criminal use for a sports car, “cruise around and impress the opposite sex” or “wash and wax – make it look nice”’. (p7). Wortley (2008) describes a two-stage ‘situational precipitation’ process, whereby situations do not only hold instrumental risks and opportunities

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but as a prior process generate perception, motivation and emotion through prompting, provoking, pressing and permitting offending. The resulting cognitive states prime and shape the perception of, and response to, the opportunity. This usefully covers both the caused and goal side. How far the micro-motivational and emotional influences on offenders in the immediate (pre-) attack situation influences their behaviour is not certain, but provoking nervous reactions by disconcerting appearance of security checks etc. may give the game away; disguising vulnerabilities may block prompting; and pictures of families with children, posted in a likely target location for example, could provide contrary pressures to destruction.4 Whatever the case, the caused, emotional and motivational side of humans cannot be kept out of any holistic account of behaviour-in-environment, even in circumstances where normal human reactions and expressions of fear, self-preservation and empathy with potential victims are suppressed through training and indoctrination. Consistent with this but on a more mundane scale, Garwood (2009) describes one prolific offender known to her who appeared to have far less interest in what he took than in the challenge that any property afforded. The goals agents pursue can be positive (events or states to seek or to cause) or negative (events or states to avoid or prevent). Foraging generally involves both of these simultaneously – seeking food, for example, while avoiding predation; seeking a good time at a club while avoiding getting mugged on the way home; undertaking hostile reconnaissance while avoiding detection. The goals range from top-level (survival, procreation, etc.) to subsidiary, instrumental means to ends (obtain coat to survive winter, obtain hat to impress opposite sex). The goals may be organized for execution in strategic plans and/or tactical scripts, to be discussed below. The military concept of effects readily ties in with that of instrumental goals. Effects-based operations (e.g. Hunderwadel, 2006) focus on the ultimate and intermediate outcomes desired in a military operation or campaign, and are contrasted with input-based approaches (how much bombing to deliver, etc.). It’s straightforward to translate the effects concept into crime prevention or counter-terrorism terms – we desire reduced risk of criminal or terrorist events, for example. But we can go further and consider the effects from the terrorists’ own perspective – what intermediate and ultimate goals are they seeking to achieve? Tactically, for example, how do they get into a particular site to undertake reconnaissance? Strategically, is that site worth attacking to achieve their desired effects? Affordance, especially as defined by Norman, is by definition goal-related and usually instrumental. It fits within the approach for anticipating crime risks associated with new products, systems or procedures known as the Misdeeds and Security framework (Ekblom, 2005)5 more fully set out below. Obviously

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enough, particularly relevant categories are Misuse (how can I misuse this tool for reconnaissance?) and to a lesser extent Misbehaviour with the object or system in question (how can we use this litter bin to whip up a disturbance to distract surveillance operators?). Affordance connects with negative goals too – for example, setting off a fire alarm to cover an escape from pursuing guards. Whether a goal is a positive or negative one largely depends on how the goal is expressed – finding safety is approximately equivalent to escaping or avoiding danger. Disruption of terrorists’ goals and plans may be served if we can conceal affordances, or in Gaver’s (1991) terms, sow false affordances that either waste terrorists’ time and effort, or make them self-reveal (e.g. by showing an unnatural interest in a spurious security fixture).

Affordance and perception The offender’s perception of risk and opportunity almost always mediates between the objective world and the offender’s behaviour. Almost, because slamming into a steel shutter that has just dropped down is pretty objective: a frustrated affordance with respect to a weapons store, say, in the original Gibsonian sense. But this does raise the issue of barriers to utility: are there any special considerations we might wish to explore in the ecological and perceptual circumstances where some asset is visible, but protected, and in the decision point between ‘unattainable, give up’ versus ‘attainable with effort and risk’? Steel shutters apart, perceptual processes, are central, and perceived affordance in the Norman sense predominates throughout this paper. Perceptual processes can broadly be divided into the current (‘I want to misuse that tool to break in or as a weapon’) and the future (‘Will I be able to operate that tool in a way that is unauthorized /not intended by the designers?). There may also be a past element, if terrorists are seeking lessons from previous attempts, or conducting ‘after action reviews’.6

Affordance, perception and goals Since affordance is goal-oriented, it is interesting to note in passing the existence of Perceptual Control Theory (PCT), which in effect ties Gibson’s and Norman’s conceptions of affordance into a more complete ecological and psychological picture of what is going on within the individual agent, that agent’s behaviour and the environment in which this takes place.

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PCT (Powers, 2005) reverses the perspective of conventional psychological assumptions of ‘stimulus⬎response’ – that incoming signals from the environment are what trigger behaviour. PCT maintains that, within reasonable limits, it is people who act on their surroundings, so as to control the effects the environment is having on them. The action alters the environment and this in turn generates perceptions and experiences which serve the agent’s goals. In causal mechanism terms, this process works, cybernetically, by the agent’s cognition: An internal representation of a (desired) goal-state is compared with perceptual information on the current actual state, and any difference drives and directs behaviour intended to reduce that difference. This applies whether the direction is mediated via elementary balance reflexes, say, or more elaborate cognitive processes and representations of the real world ranging from the movement of a computer mouse and cursor, to the execution of a major terrorist attack. The important elements which affordance respectively leaves implicit or misses out on entirely are the facts that affordance is part of a wider control system beyond mere perception and that as with all such systems there are feedback loops between the controlling agent and the environment. Quite how this insight can be put to use within counter terrorism and crime prevention is currently unclear, but it is so fundamental and offers such a complete picture that investing some thinking in its application is very likely to be worthwhile. One way of researching this might be through agentbased modelling and other kinds of simulation, which enable exploration of possible emergent properties of the wider system in which individuals are embedded. Another would be to look in the ‘foraging’ literature within ecology for methods of relating the behaviour of individuals in pursuit of particular instrumental goals, to particular aspects of the environment in which they operate. This brings us full circle to Gibson’s original ecological interest in defining affordance.

Affordance, risk and opportunity and perception Risk and opportunity are both ecological concepts relating to how agents actively cope with, and forage in, their environment in the face of uncertain outcomes – the risk may never materialize; the opportunity may not occur or be realized. These are obviously in the same broad conceptual area as affordance – but how do we take it further? By attempting to define the terms more clearly than they have been to date within situational crime prevention.

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A risk can be defined as a possible event or set of similar events of a certain probability whose occurrence would jeopardize/frustrate one or more of the goals of an agent – whether an honest or dishonest one. An opportunity can be defined as a possible event or set of similar events of a certain probability, whose occurrence would meet one or more of the goals of an agent.7 (A similar perspective is taken by Garwood, 2009). Perception of risk may centre on event or agent to be avoided, and otherwise on causal conditions and agents surrounding it (Can I deal with it/ him, and how?). Perception of opportunity may centre on the target property or people to be attacked, but otherwise on the causal conditions and agents surrounding it (What value can I get out of attacking it/them, and how? How can I get close to them to make the attack?). Ekblom and Sidebottom (2008) talk more widely of the risk environment to which products (as targets or resources for crime) may be exposed and to which they should be securityadapted. This term could of course equally apply to the risks facing potential victims, or indeed offenders. The term ‘risk and opportunity landscapes’ might apply to offenders and link individual micro-affordances together. Indeed, such landscapes may be considered a spatial/geographical subset of Clarke’s concept of ‘opportunity structure’ (e.g. Clarke and Newman, 2006). Risks and opportunities are almost opposites – an opportunity can be partly defined by acceptable/controllable risk. However, the relationship may be a dynamic one: an attractive provisional opportunity may, on second thoughts, be ruled out when significant risks become apparent. All this raises the interesting question as to whether there exists a negative process equivalent to affordance – a repulsion or shying away. How far this is instrumental, emotional or some combination is unclear. Whether a deeper investigation of this issue can lead us to identify ways of disrupting or demotivating terrorists is also unclear. We could make a start by reading, while engaging our own mindset of ‘affordance for potentially useful ideas in counter-terrorism’, the literature on triggers for empathy, disgust, guilt and shame, and also material on offenders’ psychological resources for controlling and inhibiting these emotions (Ekblom and Tilley, 2000). We can say the following additional things about opportunities:

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Opportunities are not purely environmental (out there) but ecological (the offender in the situation).



Opportunities have to be perceived to be acted on.



Opportunities are co-determined by offender resources (burglar may see a high up open window but may need ladder, agility, courage; see also Garwood, 2009).

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Self-perception of resources may be important (can I climb that high without chickening out/falling off?).



Capacity to spot affordances is perhaps a personal resource (e.g. entrepreneurs).

The concept of hidden affordance may help us distinguish between patent and latent opportunities – the former are obvious; the latter have to be spotted by the sharp-eyed, with the right mindset. Gamman and Raein (2010) observe the creative characteristics of offenders in this respect, drawing interesting parallels with designers. They argue that the ability to scan, spot and exploit a situation is a characteristic consistent of many criminals but shared by many creative and innovative people. Hudson’s (1966) concept of divergent thinking and the Mednicks’ (1962) Remote Associates Test8 both chime with the idea of able offenders creating opportunities from remotely linked and probably latent possibilities. Consider these examples. ‘If someone could just get these bankers to transfer their money in this way, whilst bugging the system to obtain this security information. . . they could make a packet’. ‘If, at peak time for movements at Heathrow Airport we can disrupt air traffic control with this gadget we will build up an enormous crowd in the terminals, making for a denser target and simultaneously making it easier to smuggle in our bombs’. ‘If we can get hold of these fungal spores and disperse them with this new aerial crop-duster that can be fitted on these cheap model aircraft, then we can create economic mayhem’. Dorst’s (2003) account of how designers operate in the world describes them as constantly looking for opportunities. An opportunity for innovation or change presents the creative with a possibility to interact with an idea, materials, technology or a social situation and bring about change often linked to taking risks. This applies as much to malevolent as benevolent designers. Clarke and Harris (1992) distinguish between criminals who are opportunity takers and those who are opportunity makers. The Conjunction of Terrorist Opportunity (Roach et al., 2005) represents 11 generic, immediate, causes of terrorist events which offenders are trying to bring together, while those responsible for security are trying to prevent them coming together. These causes comprise, on the offender side, ideological predisposition; the lack of skills and other personal resources to avoid terrorism (which may apply in certain contexts of recruitment); readiness to act, which relates to shortterm motivational and emotional states; resources for committing acts of terrorism; the decision to commit an act of terrorism (including the perceptual and anticipatory processes that lead towards or away from that decision or sequence of decisions); and the terrorist’s presence (or telepresence) in the situation. On the situational side, the causes are target vector (using one

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FIGURE 3.1 Schematic representation of opportunities in terms of obviousness and effort.

group of people or set of property to convey a message to another) and target audience (the ones receiving the message and influenced by it); enclosures (e.g. secure buildings or compounds) targeted by offenders, or used by them as lairs; wider environments such as central business districts that can enable, attract or generate terrorist attacks; the absence or incapacity of terrorism preventers (people or organizations that make terror events less likely by their presence or deeds); and the presence and capacity of terrorism promoters (people or organizations that accidentally, recklessly or deliberately make terror events more likely). Affordance on the part of offenders has obvious connections to many of these causes. On the offender side, they include a predisposition towards perception of terrorist opportunity and in particular, of misuse of resources. On the situational side, they include, for example, the identification of enclosures/compounds suitable for hideouts and the spotting of vulnerabilities in target enclosures. We can draw these ideas together in Figure 3.1, which schematically shows a range of opportunities. At the left end is the perceptually obvious and logistically simple – an easy chance to set fire to a building, say. This doesn’t rule out opportunities that are obvious but may be difficult (‘All we have to do is obtain the key’). Moving towards the right, the shape of the opportunity becomes progressively less distinct, and progressively more causal – preconditions for success have to be actively created. At the far right, it’s not even clear which if anything is the opportunity in question – what possible desirable event can be made to happen from what available causes that can be manipulated. Quite easy ones could be hidden in this tangle of possible conjunctions – one immediately thinks of talented entrepreneurs spotting a gap in the market that nobody else did. Add to this the variable amount, complexity and risk of preparatory work that may be needed to make each element happen and to coordinate putting all in place – each with their own perceived and objective affordances – and the range is extreme indeed. But paradoxically, those opportunities which are subtlest and most latent are both least expected by security services and perhaps most rewarding in terms of the shock, demonstration of advanced capabilities and unpreparedness of security, and the disruption brought about.

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Vicarious affordance Those of us who try to prevent crime and terrorism, being human, have our affordances too. But we also have vicarious affordance in that we have developed more or less sophisticated ways of ‘thinking thief’ (Ekblom, 1997) or ‘thinking terrorist’, the better to anticipate and counter the moves of the opposition. (Presumably terrorists will likewise be ‘thinking security guard’, etc.) The Misdeeds and Security framework (Ekblom, 2005, 2008) already mentioned, is one way of supporting this process. This was originally developed for identifying crime risks and crime prevention opportunities emanating from scientific or technological innovations. However, it has a more general use in identifying the broadest possibilities of crime and terrorism actions that can be associated with some product, place or system, whether these act as target, enclosure, environment or resource. Thus, these entities are at risk of being: ●

Misappropriated (stolen – e.g. explosives).



Mistreated (damaged, injured).



Mishandled (smuggled, e.g. CBRN materials).



Misbegotten (counterfeit – e.g. security passes).



Misused (as tool or weapon for crime or terrorist attack).



Misbehaved with (not normally associated with terrorism although disorder could be fomented to distract from hostile reconnaissance or actual attack).



Mistaken (false alarm, false arrest – ‘genuine’ false alarms are a problem with terrorism, of course, but ‘deliberate false alarms’ can be used to cheaply contribute to a climate of terror and economic disruption).

Of course, these can apply in combination, as with some weapon being misappropriated in order to be misused. Another approach is more specific. Clarke and Newman (2006) devised a suite of risk factors to forecast likely terrorist attacks, that is, mistreatment, of particular sites. Those at greatest risk of being selected for attack are identified as: ●

Exposed (in the case of the Twin Towers, literally head and shoulders above the rest of the surrounding buildings).



Vital (e.g. part of critical national infrastructure whose destruction would be costly and disruptive).

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Iconic (holding special significance, whether for terrorists (the symbol of global capitalism) or target audience (e.g. a holy shrine).



Legitimate (in the eyes of the terrorists and their supporters).



Destructible



Occupied (i.e. containing human targets).



Near



Easy9

In effect, these properties amount to an ‘affordance shopping guide’ for selecting the most useful and attackable targets.

Dynamics – affordance, scripts and script clashes Scripts (Cornish, 1994; Ekblom in press (a)) are organized sequence of actions leading towards desired goals and avoiding undesired ones (e.g. seek target, approach, deliver bomb, avoid premature discovery and so on). Scripts are competences, realized as improvized performances drawing on range of resources (Ekblom and Tilley, 2000; Gill, 2005) – tools, tradecraft/ perpetrator techniques, etc. They involve decision points – go/no-go, plan A/plan B. They may also direct perceived affordance – for example, prompting offender to seek/use particular tools/weapons at particular times (at this step I seek litter bin for concealing bomb). Affordance may also come in when scripts are performed and the unexpected happens, requiring improvization (Camera activated! Where’s a rock to heave at it?). Those who design, install, build or supply particular products, places or systems have in mind intended and assumed affordances for these; and these usually involve some kind of ‘official’ script covering how the tool, software application or even aircraft is to be used and for what purpose. This perspective is addressed through the domain of ‘persuasive technology’ and more broadly ‘design with intent’ – see Lockton et al. (2008). But criminals and terrorists will have other ideas and may go to considerable lengths to ‘hack’ their way round built-in constraints. Those controlling/preventing crime/terrorism have scripts too (e.g. in carrying out surveillance or access control). Ekblom (in press (a)) extends this in design terms to the concept of script clashes – where the offender’s script

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engages with the user or preventer’s script in such issues as surveillance versus concealment, challenge versus excuse, pursuit versus escape. ●

Surveill versus conceal



Exclude versus permit entry



Wield force versus resist it



Conceal criminal intent versus detect criminal intent



Challenge suspect versus give plausible response



Surprise/ambush versus warning



Trap versus elude



Pursue versus escape. . .

These are, in effect, the pivots on which designers and other professional crime preventers must tip the design of products, environments and procedures to favour the good party. As offenders and preventers get to know and anticipate one anothers’ scripts and the mutual script clashes, the scripts may co-evolve towards greater elaboration of countermove and counter-countermove (cf. Ekblom, 1997). As Gamman, et al. (in preparation) point out, instrumental scripts are not the whole story for understanding and influencing the dynamics of crime and terrorism situations. A range of personal and interpersonal motivational and emotional processes are intertwined with, or substitute for, such scripts and script clashes in determining behaviour and the outcomes of social interactions. Design interventions can seek to manipulate these mechanisms, for example trying to make potential targets of criminal damage or terrorism less provocative to the offenders, or to arouse feelings of empathy which might inhibit attack plans. Once again, affordance in practice has to be viewed within this richer picture. Freilich and Chermak (2009) in particular apply scripts to understanding US right-wing extremist activities, in search of interventions. They analyse ‘routine/spontaneous’ encounters with law enforcement officers, such as traffic stops, which may escalate to violence. In so doing they apply both the conventional script analysis which focuses on opportunity, and a richer variant which draws on Wortley’s (2008) two-stage ‘precipitation plus opportunity’ approach, described above. This allows them to take in emotional and motivational issues situationally triggered within the interaction between the parties. These are in effect both instrumental and emotional clashes. As noted, how such processes relate to the instrumentalism of affordance, whether

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during planning or execution of terror attacks, is critical to understanding and intervention. The emotional/motivational processes in Mumbai-style attacks, with dynamic encounters and a succession of shoot-to-kill decisions, will of course be somewhat different from that of the detonation of a suicide bomb; and both will be of a wholly different kind from leaving some weapon to detonate on a timer.

Conclusion The concept of affordance, particularly perceived affordance, fits well with situational approaches to crime prevention and counter terrorism, and with the ‘enriched offender’ versions of situational prevention discussed at various points above. It also fits with an approach to prevention that advocates ‘drawing on design’ (Ekblom in press (a,b)). But the key question is, does affordance add value? Or is it a concept that, through overlap and duplication, actually harms the field? As indicated at the start of this chapter, this is somewhat ‘early days’ for the relation of this concept to crime prevention and counter terrorism – in Piaget’s (2001) terms we are still busily assimilating and accommodating. And with serious terrorist attacks the stakes, of course, may occasionally be high even if the vast bulk of crime is of the everyday kind. The basic concept of affordance may not actually add an enormous amount to the conceptualization already achieved within opportunity. But it separates out, and provides a language to describe, a key interaction, exposing to view a quite distinctive facet of the existing system of crime/terror attack situation and offender’s disposition. Articulation of how these relate conceptually and interact dynamically is of central importance in any attempt to understand and manipulate the proximal causal mechanisms that generate successful and failed criminal or terrorist events. And any conceptual tool for thinking and communication that helps us individually and collectively get to grips with what terrorists and other offenders are attempting to do in practical operational terms – that is, to think terrorist or think thief in a structured, disciplined yet insightful way – must be helpful. This is particularly so in circumstances where we face the challenge of beneficially influencing a complex adaptive system. But it also applies to more limited approaches such as ‘Red Teaming’, covering exploration of immediate vulnerabilities, actions and reactions in a simulated attack. However, to get the best value out of the affordance concept, it needs stronger characterization both empirically and conceptually; and broader connections with other psychological and ecological processes.

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On the empirical side, do we know enough about affordance and how it works to be able to use it effectively? What, within offender and situation, triggers, constrains and shapes the process? How does it fit with related instrumental processes and emotional/motivational ones? What are its limits? Can conceptions like the Misdeeds & Security framework, effects, scripts and script clashes help to pin down or extend what affordance can do for us in practice? On broadening the connections of affordance, the caused, emotional, expressive and motivational side of humans cannot be kept out of any holistic account of environment and agent-in-environment. Nor, as Perceptual Control Theory suggests, can the wider feedback loops between agent and environment be ignored. How did affordance operate in the fictitious scene in Fawlty Towers10 where Basil Fawlty, furiously chastising his car for failing to start, casts about and comes back with a large branch with which to whip the offending vehicle? How, if at all, did affordance operate in the mind of the student, in recent riots, who impulsively threw a fire extinguisher off the top of a building narrowly missing police officers below? Conceptually, affordance probably needs a definition-in-depth (Ekblom, 2011, in press (a, b, c)) to link it systematically, consistently and rigorously both with these wider processes and the conceptualization of human (mis) behaviour in terms of plans, decisions and goals. On balance, then, and speaking provisionally, affordance remains one potentially useful linking concept in a field of others within crime prevention and counter terrorism. But is it more than that? As practical preventers of terrorism and crime we are into vicarious affordance, as described above. A real, operational test of utility, surely, would come with trying to apply vicarious affordance to a series of very specific practical terror/counter-terror instances. This could perhaps be undertaken in trial Red Team exercises, with and without the benefit of the concept incorporated within the briefing material, enabling comparison of the interventions devised. Assessment of the ‘operational value added’ of vicarious affordance would involve posing questions like these. Does use of the affordance concept give extra focus in helping both the Red Team (attacking) and the Blue Team (defending) ‘think terrorist’ and/or ‘think defender’? Does it take them beyond unschooled, intuitive imaginings into something more realistic? Does it confer greater depth of understanding, and boost the innovativeness and quality of interventions designed? To my knowledge nobody has undertaken such an empirical, trial-and-improvement approach to what could be called the ‘experimental design of terms and concepts’, although I go some way to suggesting it in the final chapter of Ekblom (2011). But given what is at stake with counter terrorism it may be worth a try.

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Notes 1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affordance. Accessed 11.06.11. 2 And see the ‘No Climbing’ at w.w.w.designcouncil.org.uk/ourwork/ challenges/security/design-out-crime/case-studies1/no-climbin/ Accessed 07.07.11 3 Note that all goal-directed behaviour is ultimately understandable in terms of causes (specifically, operating in negative feedback loops), but that not all causal explanations of behaviour can be described in terms of goals. 4 Idea developed in discussion with Jason Roach. 5 See also online presentations by Paul Ekblom, ‘Thinking thief: Crime frameworks for design against crime’.www.bikeoff.org/design_resource/ dr_PDF/Thinking_Thief_Crime_Frameworks_PE_DAC.doc, and ‘Risk analysis design guide: Using theory to analyse crime risks and generate design guidance for secure bike parking’,www.bikeoff.org/wordpress/wpcontent/ uploads/2009/02/2008_ekblom_risk_analysis_design_guide1.pdf. Both accessed 18.06.11. 6 See, for example, www.mvr.usace.army.mil/PublicAffairs Office/2003AnnualReport/DistrictHighlights/AAR%20Guide.doc and in UK National Health Service http:/arms.evidence.nhs.uk/resources/hub/21134/ attachment. Both accessed 18.06.11. 7 This thinking is expanded in http://riskopp.wordpress.com 8 http://scorates.berkeley.edu/~kihlstrm/RATest.htm. Accessed 18.06.11; for example, Falling Actor Dust⫽STAR; Widow Bite Monkey⫽SPIDER. . . 9 ‘EVIL.DONE’ may not be the most apt acronym for a tool for anticipation. . . 10 www.youtube.com/watch?v⫽78b671_yxUc&playnext⫽1&list⫽PL86C50595C 19E86B8

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4 Cyber-jihad: Ideology, affordance and latent motivations Gilbert Ramsay University of St Andrews

Discourse, behaviour and jihadist violence In recent years, it might be argued that we have witnessed a renaissance in the importance attributed to ideology as an explanation for political violence. While – as Jost (2006) observes – there has been a wider phenomenon of the ‘end of the end of ideology’ within the social sciences in general, this concern has arguably been more driven in this case by the apparent empirical failure of existing models. Moghadam (2008), for example, who relies on the spread of salafi-jihadi ideology as an explanation for the rise of contemporary suicide bombing specifically takes issue with the strategic explanations offered by Robert Pape (2005) and the institutional ones provided by Mia Bloom (2005). For Moghadam, the bottom line seems to be that people carry out suicide bombings in the present day not so much because of larger, structural reasons, but because they come to believe that it is the right thing to do. A similar issue can be encountered with regard to the apparent limitations of models of individual terrorist engagement rooted in social movement theory and organizational psychology to explain the phenomenon of so-called selfradicalization. Scholars such as Wiktorowicz (2005) and Sageman (2004, 2008) have shown how group dynamics and socialization processes can lead people to engage in radical Islamist groups. On the other hand, Horgan and Taylor (2006) have discussed how engagement in terrorism can be seen as a lengthy

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behavioural process in which an individual moves through a succession of practical roles before finally arriving at the point of engagement in violence. In the case of the former set of explanations, ideology (in Wiktorowicz’s case, expressed in the social movement theory language of collective action framing) is embedded into collective behaviour. In the latter, it is to all intents and purposes absent. Indeed, researchers in this tradition are keen to point out that members of terrorist groups are often unaware of the specific ideological beliefs even of their own organizations, which they may study in detail only after voluntary or forced retirement from active service. Such behavioural accounts, however, seem to be shaken by cases such as that of, for example, Roshonara Choudhry, who – if media accounts are accurate – made the transition from a normal, academically promising psychology student to an attempted murderer in almost total isolation, solely through her chance encounter with the online oeuvre of Shaykh Anwar alAwlaki. By means of his videos al-Awlaki, it seems, convinced this individual that it was her moral responsibility to wage violent struggle against the enemies of the Ummah, and – as a result – precipitated her stabbing of the pro-war MP Stephen Timms. Where, in this seemingly ‘lone wolf’ action is the ‘lengthy socialization process’? Where is the succession of progressively more significant roles leading up to a place on the ‘front line’? In Roshanara Choudhry’s case, so it seems, we have no complex web of social ties, no ‘bunch of guys’ to impress or disappoint. Yet again, so it seems, she did what she did because she had been convinced that it was the right thing to do. And yet, if jihadi ideology is so uniquely virulent as some media sources would make it out to be, then we are still left with the basic question that faces all attempts to use public discourse as an explanation for individual behaviour: why some but not others? Why, out of many thousands of Muslims, out of many thousands of people (since, after all, starting out as a Muslim seems hardly to be a particularly strong predictor of ending up as a grass roots jihadi), did this one person cross the threshold into violent action? Why, in the end, is there so much jihadism, and so relatively little violence? At this point, a conventional approach would be to look anew for intersections between ideology and violent behaviour. Perhaps there were things about Roshanara Choudhry’s life that somehow predisposed her to put her beliefs into action while others did not? Did she (one can only speculate) have some sort of personal crisis? Was it the fortuitous school trip that she had made to visit Stephen Timm’s constituency surgery? Was it as simple as the ready availability for purchase of a sharp-tipped kitchen knife? The problem here is that we are likely to find ourselves back at an impasse. Virtually every attempt ever made to profile terrorists as individuals has failed. And we have already established for this sort of case that the distinctive social processes which matter far more in the making of a terrorist

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are – seemingly – absent. Thus, in turning back to issues of behaviour as a dichotomous opposite to ideology, it is unlikely that we are going to be able to offer anything more useful than blind chance as an explanation for why some people consume jihadi content and then go on to kill people. After all, if we are to look to the specific sequences of occurrences in people’s individual lives, then these are, almost by definition, unique. Cases of ‘selfradicalisation’ as comparatively rare instances of the actualization of beliefs promoted in violent content exemplify that over quoted maxim of Tolstoy’s: they are the ‘unhappy families’ each of which is unhappy in its own way. But what if we have got things the wrong way round? What if – rather than asking about the handful of people whose engagement with radical content apparently helps to precipitate their violent actions – we instead ask what it is about the many others who engage in violent content which prevents them from doing the same? This may seem, at first, to be a non-question. Is it not obvious, after all, that there is a gap between stated intention and action? That for hundreds who express support for something, only a few will actually make good on their words? First, even allowing that we cannot expect all those who engage with words to turn them into deeds, one might still suggest that there is a significant shortfall of violent jihadi action relevant to discourse. After all, for example, US authorities, at the height of the Vietnam war protests, reported more than 3,000 domestic bombing incidents in a single year (BBC Website, 2002). Albeit these were not attempts at mass casualty terrorism, and albeit that it was a much more broadly supported cause, the contrast between this and the incidence of home-grown jihadist violence is striking. Secondly, even allowing that it may – from a bird’s eye perspective – seem a given that people who interact with radical content will not necessarily be violent themselves, it still remains something in need of explanation at the micro level. To draw an analogy from geology, it is well known as a generality that the action of flowing water, over time, wears down rock. But the actual mechanisms by which this occurs are in fact quite specific, and not all intuitively obvious. Focusing on the practices of those who engage with jihadi content without turning to violence has the advantage that it restricts study to that which is the only exceptional feature of violent jihadists, while at the same time broadening the enquiry sufficiently to escape the necessarily idiosyncratic nature of individual cases. The crucial point, though, is that by establishing the normal rules which govern consumption of jihadi and other extremist content, we may be in a better position to understand what has happened when some cases (i.e. people who actually turn to violence) turn out to be exceptional to these. In asking how it is that people engage with jihadi content without becoming involved in violence we must necessarily break down a too rigid distinction which has emerged in the study of ‘violent radical’ phenomena on the internet

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between online discourse and practice. This is the distinction that is to be found, for instance in Weimann (2006), who offers a fundamental classificatory difference between what he calls ‘instrumental’ and ‘communicative’ use of the internet. Used instrumentally, the internet is, for Weimann, an operational platform, a training camp, a networking tool, a means of secure communications, a means of reconnaissance and so on. Used communicatively, it is a way of spreading propaganda, of indoctrinating people with the group’s ideas. Weimann’s largely atheoretical work on this subject is perhaps an easy target for critique. But arguably a cognitivist emphasis on the relationship between actors and rhetoric is a feature of social movement theory much more generally. For instance, as Steinberg (1998) observes, the concept of ‘framing’, as introduced to the area by Snow and Benford (1988) and now being enthusiastically adopted by students of jihadist discourse, is understood very much in terms of the persuasive action of language on the mind sets of essentially passive subjects. As such, this view seems not to leave room for more fluid and dialogic views of how framings evolve. For Steinberg (drawing on the ideas of the Bakhtin circle), framings should be understood not in terms of deep ideological changes wrought by the absorption of language, but as continually emergent from the ongoing discovery by social movement participants of particular arguments and rhetorical forms which are useful at particular moments. Yet even this perspective does not acknowledge two points of concern to us. First, the extent to which even the consumption of discourses is the result of proactive choices on the part of the consumer – something which, though it has always been the case, is heavily accentuated by the use of digital media. And secondly, the materiality of the practices by which discourses are consumed. With regard to the former, cultural research into media consumption (de Certeau, 1984, Radway, 1984, Fiske, 1989, Jenkins, 1992, Bacon-Smith, 1992) has established the extent to which individuals ‘insert themselves into’ texts, actively, continuously and selectively using discretion to make of those texts what they want from them. With regard to the latter it is worth observing – in contrast to research on ‘radical’ content – how it is now taken as a given within an area such as research into child pornography on the internet that consumption practices such as the creation of ‘structured collections’ may have an indicative significance not reducible to the actual material which is collected (Taylor and Quayle, 2003).

Affordances, texts and the internet A useful way of bridging the gap between the semantic properties of content, and the material (or virtually material) conditions of its consumption

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is provided by the concept of affordance. For Gibson (1979) – with whom it originated – affordances are invariant action possibilities in objects, which represent one category of the many invariants which enable an active observer to make sense of visual data in the world. They represent thus, from the outset, a concept that points in two directions. On the one hand, Gibson insists that affordances exist in objects independently of the observer’s circumstantial awareness of them. On the other hand, it seems difficult to escape from the idea that the notion of an affordance of an object nonetheless must bear some relation to ‘the meanings that objects have for observers’ (Goldstein, 1981). For Norman (1988) – who picks up Gibson’s concept of affordance and takes it in a somewhat different direction, the idea of affordances of objects is intimately bound up with the idea of ‘knowledge in the world’ – a notion which does, at least, seem to have a broad affinity to Gibson’s central concern with visual perception as something that arises not simply from the brain’s elaborate operations on ambiguous and inadequate visual data, but rather from the way in which active interaction with an environment produces – albeit from many different sources – a rich stream of immediate sensory data by which it is possible to make sense of the world as it is in practice. A useful illustration of how hypothetically very complex situations can nonetheless be successfully negotiated, uninstructed, by human operators is offered by Norman in his discussion of a Lego police motorcycle toy. Although the pieces of the motorcycle can in theory be assembled in millions of different combinations, practical, functional and even ‘cultural’ constraints conspire to ensure that untutored users can in fact assemble it in the one correct way every time. Interestingly, Norman relates his notion of ‘cultural constraints’ explicitly to Goffman’s (1956) concept of ‘frames’, thus potentially expanding the idea of affordance from physical structures to social ones as well. In the context of internet and technology studies, the concept of affordance has been adopted by thinkers such as Hutchby (2001) to provide a middle way between rival claims of technological and social determinists. From this point of view, the material properties of technologies (including communications technologies) do not determine use in the long term, but they do invite and constrain certain sorts of use for the individual user in quotidian circumstances. In place of a scenario in which toast is the inevitable outcome of the toaster – for whom human agents are merely unwitting slaves, or the scenario by which toast itself is merely a social construction, it becomes possible to assert that while men do indeed make toast, they do not do so under circumstances of their own choosing. The argument of this chapter takes this insight as its starting point: that those who use the internet find themselves presented with very particular action possibilities and equally particular constraints. However, its particular

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concern shall not so much be this fact on its own, but rather the way in which internet jihadis diagnose this situation and respond to it in their discourse. The argument will be that internet jihadis are not only limited by the possibilities afforded by the internet, but also are able to make use of these limitations in order to build a subculture which preserves the pleasures of engagement in radical Islamist ideology, while at the same time providing discursive strategies for rationalizing away demands for other types of involvement.

Rethinking ‘Jihadism’ At this point, it is worth reflecting on how the term ‘jihadism’ is to be understood. Conventionally, the word ‘jihadism’ is taken to refer to a modern, ideological phenomenon – originating, according to Kramer (2003) and Roy (2002) – in the South Asian media. This is in contrast, of course, to the concept of jihad, which is a Qur’anic term and intrinsically a part of Islamic theology. This distinction sets up two assumptions. The first assumption is that jihad must be addressed emically, whereas jihadism is an etic category coined by those who study political Islamic phenomena. As Armborst (2009) puts it, the word is a ‘mental shortcut’ which ‘helps heuristically to deal with a difficult subject’. The second assumption (mirroring the exaggerated rhetoric/behaviour dichotomy observed above) is that jihad refers to a set of practices, whereas jihadism refers to a set of ideas. Both assumptions are neatly encapsulated by Sedgwick (2007), when he says: A mujahid is not necessarily the same as a ‘jihadist’, although it is sometimes used. . . to mean mujahid. For many, a ‘jihadist’ is not just a participant in a jihad, but a believer in ‘Jihadism’. I am not myself convinced that ‘Jihadism’, which is often taken to mean the practice of jihad as an end in itself, actually exists. For Sedgwick it seems, ‘jihadist’ at its best is simply a foreign gloss on the word ‘mujahid’ (which after all, grammatically, just means ‘doer of jihad’). At worst it invokes an ideological figment of the Western (and Indian) imagination, giving artificial coherence to a heterodox fanatical dogma when, in reality, there exists only a complex and shifting process of ongoing Islamic interpretation. But, while we may presumably accept that there genuinely is no one who would explicitly claim to believe in ‘jihad as an end in itself’, the idea that jihadism has no significance outside of Western discourse about ‘radical’

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The Islamic Awakening

The Jihadi Jihad/Mujahidin Current/Jihadis

FIGURE 4.1 The position of “Jihadis” in Al-Suri’s thought. Islam is inaccurate. This can be shown to be literally untrue with reference to the fact that Abu Mus‘ab al-Suri, a notable ‘jihadi’ ideologue explicitly refers to ‘jihadis’ as a category distinct from ‘mujahidin’. And even if Al-Suri’s usage (and that of various people who refer to themselves without obvious irony as ‘jihadis’ online) is admitted to be somewhat idiosyncratic, the fact still remains that there are other self-applied terms such as ahl al-jihad which in practice seem to offer very close equivalents to that of ‘jihadis’ or ‘jihadists’. It is, therefore, meaningful to pose the question: how is ‘jihadism’ understood by the ‘jihadists’ themselves? That is, what do they consider the defining features of a ‘jihadi’ to be? For Al-Suri (and this time his terminology agrees with other major ideologues such as Abu Bakr Naji), a ‘jihadi’ is defined as a member of the ‘jihadi current’. The jihadi current differs from the traditional practice of jihad (which, however, encompasses it) insofar as it is a distinctively modern phenomenon arising in response to distinctively modern circumstances. Indeed, it is further to be seen as a subset of what Al-Suri (and others) call the ‘Islamic Awakening’ – which is, again, admitted to be a distinctively modern political movement within the wider field of ‘Islam’. Indeed, it might be proposed that there is an equivalence between respective relationships of Islam to jihad, and of the Islamic Awakening to the jihadi current.1

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How, then, do ‘jihadis’ characterize the differences between themselves and other Muslims? Jihadis are commonly equated with takfiris, presuming that they consider all Muslims who do not hold their supposedly narrow and idiosyncratic views to be, in effect, apostates. But from the jihadi point of view this is (perhaps necessarily) not so. Indeed, the jihadi presumption would appear to be that the majority of Muslims do not differ from the jihadis in their basic political analysis or their understanding of what religious duties this situation demands. Rather (from the jihadi point of view) nonjihadis differ from jihadis in terms of attitude or behaviour. This much is, in fact, clear in the vocabulary which jihadis commonly use to describe those Muslims who have not joined in their project, who are described either as inhizamiyun (defeatists) or as qa‘idun (inactive people). The former term implies a Muslim who accepts the fact that the Muslim Ummah is under relentless assault by its enemies, and further that – under normal circumstances – such an assault would require a defensive jihad, but who is so daunted by the sheer power that is ranged against it that he argues that the only presently viable response is to bear the oppression peacefully (perhaps as Muhammad did during his Meccan years). The latter term implies a Muslim who accepts not only the general need for a defensive jihad, but also his specific duty to join it, but who is distracted from acting on this knowledge by worldly affairs, or by giving mistaken precedence to rival claims such as family responsibilities. So while – for those who are not jihadis – jihadism is defined by a quite particular set of ideas, from a jihadi perspective, jihadism is actually defined by a particular set of practices. But herein lies the essential paradox of jihadism – and certainly of internet jihadism, because these are, by and large, specifically non-violent practices. Indeed – although I have shown the ‘jihadi current’ overlapping somewhat with jihad, there are at least some grounds for suggesting that the notion of a violent jihadi is actually a contradiction in terms. For a ‘jihadi’ who perceives himself actually to be practising ‘jihad’ is by definition unlikely to go on considering himself to be a jihadi; he is a mujahid. To declare one’s self to be a jihadi (or an equivalent term) is thus to declare that one occupies a curious liminal state between action and inaction. That is that the jihadi (as a necessary qualification of being a jihadi) claims to be defined by action, not merely words. And yet the actions which the jihadi undertakes to support this claim are likely to be nothing more than speech acts of ‘support’. And this is, of course, particularly true for the context in which jihadis (not mujahidin or more generally ‘radical’ Muslims) are most openly to be encountered as a viable, ongoing subculture in their own right: the internet.

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Pleasures of internet jihad Accepting jihadism as a paradoxical, unstable, in-between state of becoming makes sense if we think of it simply as part of a pathway which leads either to more direct involvement in violence, or to falling back into the practices of ‘normal’ society. But while it is almost a logical necessity that, sooner or later, a jihadi must settle into one or other of these situations, such a diagnosis does not explain why jihadism on the internet may represent a more enduring commitment. More in-depth, ideally quantitative research is plainly needed on the typical lengths and online careers of those who participate in various sorts of internet jihadism, and one must be cautious of assuming that what presents as an individual identity is not, in fact, a collective. However, if we take as an example the cases of jihadi bloggers such as ‘irhabeat’ and ‘joadalfajr’ whom the author began to follow in early 2006, 5 years on, these are still going strong. This in itself suggests that they are probably neither engaged ‘in the field’ nor (obviously) have achieved martyrdom. And yet their jihadi commitment has not on that account diminished in any way. This suggests that for some jihadis, at least, jihadism is after all – in practice – quite a stable condition, notwithstanding the paradoxes this may entail. How can this be explained? We must presume, on the one hand, that internet jihadism offers a set of attractions or, indeed, of pleasures which are sufficient to keep the jihadi engaged while at the same time also offering at least an adequate source of rationalizations enabling the jihadi to resist the charge that he or she is occupying an untenably hypocritical position. Turning, in this section, to the first of these conditions we may delineate three main sets of satisfactions which engagement in internet jihadism appears to offer its participants.

Belonging Jihadi internet communities – perhaps like their far right equivalents – use their online communities as virtual analogues for the Islamic utopia to which they aspire in the ‘real world’. As such, they actually realize some of the tensions to be found within Islamist ideology itself – for example, notions of Islam as liberation versus Islam as a rigid template for a more moral and orderly society. This can be observed, for example, in the distinctively ‘Islamic’ ethical conditions that are imposed on members of jihadi forums, which can be read

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as attempts to ‘culture’ the technology of the internet, and reign in some of the more exuberant jihadi expressions of individualistic ‘cyberplay’ (Danet, 2001). Among the many terms and conditions which members are expected to abide by, we find for example specific stipulations that they: ●

Not express ill opinions of other members.



Avoid inappropriate online discussions between people of different sexes ‘there is no difference in that between the face to face encounter and that on the telephone, by message or on the internet’.



Place Qur’anic quotations in brackets, and offer proper chains of authentication for hadiths.



Title posts appropriately and avoid the ‘provocation’ or ‘overexcitement’ of using strings of characters such as @@@, $$$, !!!!!!! and ???????



Absolutely and utterly avoid posting all pictures of women, forbidden things; deviant websites, such as Shiite or Sufi sites; joining the forum under two names, information on how to hack websites, speculation about unseen matters such as the time of the coming of the Mahdi, distortions of the Sunni creed.



Refrain from comments harmful to others, particularly Ulama – members must learn to distinguish between ‘meaningful constructive criticism and slanderous and damaging accusations’.



Avoid reposting deleted posts.



Avoid posting indecent or salacious material, even with good intentions.



Avoid repetition



Warn the moderators of any arguments in the network.



Generally guard the good reputation of the network.

The flip side of such comprehensive and (one might imagine) restrictive demands is the profound disappointment expressed when forums fail to live up to the utopian expectations invested in them – which are in turn interpreted as specifically moral and religious failings. As one critic writes, for example: The truth of the matter is that there are some forums which are nothing more than sounding boards for the transmission of the communiques of the mujahidin and the intermingling of communities for the purpose of building themselves by means of specific pictures – not to give the

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completeness of understanding and imagination and work to the shari‘a and the agreement of the requirements of religion and the foundation of Islam. That is to say that some of the managements have not reached the stage of maturity and awareness, and they lack understanding of the nature of shari‘a and jihad, and they have not paid attention to the wishes of their companions towards the understanding of Islam as a complete vision [taṣawwur] leading to work with data and contradictions grounded in reality and far from fanaticism and the partiality of people, and desires, and money and dissipation. And there have returned to us the ills of the old schools of thought in which factionalisation prevailed, and there is manufacture of opinion and decisions preceding the shari‘a texts and the manahij ˉ 2 of Islam. And there is a reduction of the purity of Islam and the obligation of moving by it and working by its appropriate manahij ˉ , and the titles which are the adornments of going by these appropriate procedures, and the titles for addressing people and the breakdown of the manahij ˉ of the order of the heavens which order God almighty wanted there to be to him “His is the creation and the command. Blessed is Allah, lord of the worlds”. (Al-A’raf) and the Almighty said: “and who arranges every matter” (Yunis). The words became – those by which God Almighty commanded his prophet Ibrahim, the master of the righteous nation, and by which he ordained the apostle, prayer upon him, and peace on the most perfect face, these words became reduced to individual personalities, and they became the manahaj ˉ , and they 3 4 became the ‘aqˉıda, and they became the tawhˉıd and the jihad ˉ , so that the purity of the shari‘a5 and tawhid and jihad and da‘wa6 went away to whims and the learning of the shari‘a was misrepresented and the manahij ˉ of jihad were distorted. The irony here is of course that the failure of the forum to produce a community which is more than a ‘sounding board’ may itself result, in part, from the sheer restrictiveness of the rules which the forum managers’ interpretation of Islamic ethics places upon members – representing in virtual form the familiar tension between religion as an exhilarating promise of liberation, and the stifling reality of living within strict religious orders. At the same time, notwithstanding the unfulfilled yearning which jihadi forums and their critics voice for a measured, well-informed, ethically appropriate and yet still lively level of Islamic deliberation, they clearly still do provide an intensely felt sense of belonging. Those whose forum is closed (as when the three of the four major jihadi forums closed in 2008) were spoken of as ‘refugees’. The forum is a ‘green castle’. As one jihadi author ‘Abu ‘Amru al-Qa’idi’ argues, a central purpose of the jihadi forum is immersion in the ‘jihadi ambience’. And indeed the notion of jihadi forums as spaces of intense emotional value is emphasized in some of the jihadi poetry in which they are

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mentioned. In the following, for example, the ‘poet of Al-Ansar’ reminisces about his time in the now defunct forum Al-Ikhlas, and laments the fate of its administrator, ‘Muhibb al-Shaykhayn al-Tunisi’. I remember the day we met In Al Ikhlas In the second outlet of the media I remember the day we made a date with the esteemed, the leopard, the terrorist 007 With the esteemed Abu ‘Umar ‘Ali May God release you from imprisonment We were four people I remember the day I tired Both of us with Shaykh Abu Mus‘ab If only he and you and Abu Mus’ab Returned to me so I could be happy And I wrote your name in the search bar And when I pulled my eye away from the piece I found the shahada on the pages The pages of glory and pride

Being What this particular extract brings out with great vividness is the powerful sense in which the physical experience of using the internet is invested with meaning – expressed here through the almost-miracle by which the name of Muhibb al-Shaykhayn is transmuted, via the technology of the Web search, into the words of the Islamic declaration of faith. Indeed, jihadism on the internet is premised on a complex, paradoxical set of discourses about embodiment. On the one hand, the experience of cyberspace is – presumably – much more physically real for many internet jihadis than the physical experience of participation in violent jihad. And yet it is precisely the internet jihadi’s claim to a special communion with the intensely physical achievements of the mujahidin which offers his or her claim to online superiority. To take a typical jihadi riposte to a post challenging the legitimacy of one of Al Qa’ida’s jihad campaigns: Sit down and ask yourself: Have you denied yourself like them? Have you brought victory to this religion like them? Have you left your family and your children like them? Have you left your house and your possessions and yourself like them?

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Have you given yourself every day to God like them? Do you have dust on your feet from the path of God like them? Have you been wounded a wound in the path of God like them? Have you, some days, slept in fear like them? What is greater than the decadence of the present time!!! For internet jihadis, there is an almost direct equivalence between the physical embodiment of the mujahidin, and their claim to the possession of haqq (i.e. truth). This can be seen in the way in which jihadis dismiss their critics’ arguments in terms of their immateriality. They are ‘fleeting words’, ‘air’ or – the antonym of truth – batil, a word whose strength is not adequately conveyed by the word ‘falsehood’ alone, carrying senses of emptiness, nullity, triviality, worthlessness, futility, lack of foundation. Jihadis’ critics are not just wrong. Their wrongness is so total as almost to call into question their very existence. The internet jihadis, by contrast, are grounded and rooted, even embodied online, by their vicarious association with the mujahidin.

Becoming So jihadis assert their superiority online by anchoring themselves by association to the physical prowess of the mujahidin., But at the same time, they relate to the virtual world of cyberspace in much more familiar and concrete terms than they do to the offline struggle represented by aspirations to ‘individual terrorism’ or travel to the ‘lands of jihad’. This, they present in almost mythical terms. This paradox can be explained when we consider that jihadis – by the very fact that they are in a sense ‘virtual’ to begin with (i.e. by their not quite being mujahadin) are for that very reason capable of existing far more fully and genuinely within cyberspace than are their fighting ideals. This ties in to and extends broader arguments made about the relationship between the scripturalism of contemporary Islamic forms and the scripturalist nature of modernity made by scholars such as Eickelman (2003), which is carried to a particular extreme by the internet. That is to say that one cannot really be a Muslim online in any full sense. But one can be an Islamist. Likewise one cannot really be a mujahid. But one can really be a jihadi. But ‘being a jihadi’ may have certain uses of its own. There is another sense of virtuality advanced by the theorist Pierre Levy (1998: 16) which is useful to us here. For Levy, virtuality is not so much about being not quite real, but rather about persisting in a different mode of reality. For Levy, a virtual thing is real, but it is not actual. By this he means that it is

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real in the sense that giving someone a cheque for 5 pounds is a real way of paying them, but that it is not ‘real’, in the sense of being the actual thing, but rather a true promise of it. The virtual represents a ‘knot of potentialities’. It is the real condition of indefinitely becoming. It is useful to think of the virtual situation of being a jihadi in terms of a process of becoming – as a progressive, incremental movement towards the theoretical and idealized ultimate goal of jihad or martyrdom. Indeed, this notion is sometimes formalized in jihadi thought with reference to the ‘jihadi manhaj’. Manhaj is a complex but important Islamic concept which derives from the Arabic verb to ‘approach’. As such, it represents the bridge between the Islamic creed (‘aqida), faith (iman) and everyday behaviour. The term can refer to the all encompassing lifestyle offered by Islam, but also – as, for example in the work of Sayyid Qutb – to the ‘method of implementation’ for an ideological programme. The notion of a ‘jihadi manhaj’ is ambiguous in the sense that it can be related both to jihad (as opposed to, say, da’wa or political activism) as a broad strategy for implementing the triumph of Islam, but also to an individual’s path towards jihad. In this latter sense, it can be seen set out in works such as Al-Salim’s 39 Ways to Serve Jihad and the Mujahidin and al-Awlaki’s 44 Ways to Support Jihad. These works (which are broadly similar in content) consist of lists of ‘support’ activities for the mujahidin, set out in such a way as to imply a rough sense of escalation ending – though only implicitly – in actual physical involvement in violence. Viewed in themselves, however, without assuming the teleological development which they attempt to suggest, both works present a notion of jihadism as a ‘lifestyle’ which appropriates the repertoire of the globalized new social movement. By urging the supporter of the mujahidin to engage in activities such as following the news, hacking, going to the gym and participating in consumer activism such as boycotts, the reader is – in practice – offered a way of bringing the jihad back from distant lands and into the humdrum practices of the quotidian. This, it might be argued, is potentially a two-way bargain. While the intention of Al-Salim and Al-Awlaki (and indeed more explicitly of Al-Qaidi and Al-Suri) is to harness and ideologically frame the quotidian towards the interests of recruitment to the jihad, the necessary reciprocal of this is that the follower of the jihadi manhaj in turn is able to use the rich imaginative world of jihad as a way of bringing meaning to the quotidian. Indeed, it might further be argued here that the specific images and ideals of jihadism are by no means merely incidental and substitutable elements in this. That is to say that, for those who engage with jihadism, an alternative type of political Islam, or an altogether different project might simply not offer a viable alternative. To give a sense of what this might mean, let us consider extending claims about engagement in jihadism drawing on terror management

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theory (Greenberg et al., 2002, 1986). Terror management theory takes as its starting point the psychoanalytic notion that people are fundamentally driven by their fear of death, and that the reason humans have for involving themselves in social projects is simply to escape this fear by developing a spurious sense of immortality. When fear of death for some reason becomes acute, people cleave all the more strongly to social identity. Therefore, terrorism begets radicalization. Let us suppose that things also work in reverse: that a feeling of alienation and separation from society may also beget fear of death. This, incidentally, has some support in the case of internet jihadism, where off-topic forum posts often deal with subjects of death, worthlessness, loss of belief and ill-health (Ramsay, 2011). If this is so, then it might follow that the aspiration of martyrdom represents precisely not a way of dying, so much as a way of living by overcoming fear of death: a cultural form which, oddly, might not be so very different from the classic rock ‘n’ roll ideal of living fast and dying young. The cry ‘we love death as you love life’ may be closer than we might find comfortable to the cry of ‘hope I die before I get old’.

Rationalizing internet jihadism In setting out some of the possible pleasures of internet jihadism I have, if anything, rendered still more acute the paradox which faces it as a practice. The idea of a ‘jihadi manhaj’ necessarily implies the idea of an ongoing process of becoming. Likewise, jihadi calls for ‘preparation’ imply (in no uncertain terms) preparation for something – although in reality jihadis may submit as evidence of their active engagement in preparation the fact that they do things like posting and consuming bomb making instructions. Even so however, at some point, one might assume, the jihadi will be asked to cash in his cheque. For internet jihad, however personally satisfactory for its practitioner, can never represent more than a second best to actual engagement in the violence from which it ultimately draws its validity. How can internet jihadis resolve this paradox? There is – so it would seem – no discursive way around the problem. For while an internet jihadi must present some kind of explanation as to why online engagement in the jihad is a valid and meritorious form of action, he (less so – and this is interesting, but not a subject we can develop at present – she) cannot deny that ultimately it is physical engagement in violence that is the true, obligatory jihad. A discourse which justifies internet jihad is, necessarily, a discourse which undercuts the physical jihad which it is the precise purpose of internet jihad to support.

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What I wish to contend at this point is that the tactic which internet jihadis have developed in order to legitimate their own practice is to frame it in terms of the material possibilities and limitations of the medium they use. That is to say, that jihadis excuse themselves for not being directly involved in violence with reference to supposedly insuperable limitations to deeper engagement presented by the internet medium. At first, these claims may appear to be nothing more than excuses. But I propose that they may be something a little more than that. By consistently downplaying the scope for physical engagement to which they are overtly committed, and at the same time talking up the value of the online activities which they do participate in, they may be seen as presenting a tacit ideological alternative which celebrates the experience not of engagement in violent jihad, but of being a jihadi. The first part of this discourse is formed through the promotion of the idea that violent jihad is an inherently difficult object to attain, requiring either reliable access to connections in the ‘lands of jihad’, sophisticated training or exceptional personal qualities. Attempting violent jihad in the absence of these is not only ill advised, but may actually be harmful to the cause of the global jihad as a whole (and therefore, possibly, forbidden). The position is usefully summed up in the following communiqué – originally from the Kavkaz Centre: In Internet forums you can quite often read posts like “I want to go to Jihad, who will help me? Where can we meet?” They are either posted by agents provocateurs from security services, or by sincere, but naive Muslims. And we want to address this work to such [naive] brothers. Jihad is a personal duty but, as prayer, it demands the fulfilling of certain conditions. What would we say about a man who stands for prayer in his swimming trunks, in a filthy place, without performing ablution, justifying it by the fact that prayer is obligatory and the time has come? But some brothers, who have realised the obligation of Jihad, allow themselves to spend much time in front of a computer display, while they do not prepare themselves at all morally, physically and intellectually for war in God’s path. At the same time, today’s jihad is a surveillance and sabotage activity, which, in all armies of the world, is carried out only by specially selected, elite fighters. Do you imagine a special forces soldier who does not know even his multiplication tables, can hardly pull himself up five times, doesn’t know how to shoot, is not even familiar with his weapon, is not able to perform first aid to a wounded person, and does not fulfill the requirement of security? Interestingly, this argument is sufficiently robust that it can be deployed even in situations where the internet jihadi is confronted directly with evidence to the effect that progression from online jihad to physical jihad is indeed a

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real possibility. For example, amid the avalanche of posts among jihadis on the salafi forum Muslim.net celebrating the achievement of the martyr Abu Dujana al-Khurasani – the Al Qa’ida triple agent who successfully bombed a CIA station in Afghanistan, we find the following: The hero-brother, the martyr, we reckon him, and God is his reckoner to have been from among the most intelligent men, and his level in the standardised test was 97%. And this indicates something. It indicates that his intelligence was outstanding. Before I get into this subject, my warning to the brothers is that I would like to pose some questions far from the outcome. 1

Were the Jordanian Intelligence and the CIA involved in planting the brother Abu Dujana, may God accept him, among the mujahidin?

2

Were the mujahidin involved in planting the brother, may God accept him, in the American and Jordanian intelligence apparatuses?

3

Was the brother from the beginning trying to be in control of himself and who then was in charge of coordinating with the mujahidin and who then set up the operation?

If it was the first of these, then the brother rendered unsuccessful these intelligence services in changing the opinion of a person and this also compels us to pay attention. We have warned those who participate in forums in general, and in jihadi forums in particular, because it is the goal of these intelligence services thus. We advise the brothers not to trust anyone of the participants on the forums and at the same time not to doubt them, because it is easy to get involved. As for if it was the second, this indicates towards the extension of the information which arrives to the mujahidin to the domain of the security and intelligence services, and this would mean to them that the war has begun to take on a trend of a security dimension with the penetration of the strongest intelligence apparatus in the region and the world, and we ask God to bring them victory in this war of intelligence. If it was the third, and this is the most likely in my opinion, and God knows the truth, this is the aim of my post, and I would like to warn the brothers about it. Concerning the operation of penetration, it is imperative that the brother who wishes to penetrate a security apparatus not try to penetrate it on his own.

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The brother Abu Dujana, of whom we do not know the details of his penetration into the security apparatus possessed a stock of information which we cannot estimate and intelligence which he was able to employ in order to arrive in the position he arrived in, in addition to logistical and information support from the Taliban of Pakistan, and the coming together of these two facilities helped bring about success in the cracking of great security which was gained by an unparalleled media blackout. Therefore we advise the brothers not to improvise work like this unless it was coordinated with specialists from the mujahidin and their organisations. Now of course, we cannot be sure that this is an ‘authentic’ voice in the sense that the person behind it is a ‘real’ jihadi. It might, for all we know, be a Saudi counter-narrativist attempting to dampen any possible wave of inspiration resulting from the event. But even if so, it hardly matters. For the validity of this point (which was not unique in this discussion) was plainly accepted by the Al Qa’ida supporters of this forum. Indeed, since it was premised on the supposed superhuman excellence of the object of admiration, it was arguably difficult to object to, since to do otherwise would be to downgrade the achievement. More important for our purposes, however, is the specific extension of this general argument which relates to the dangers of using the internet as a way of ‘joining the jihad’ or of planning attacks. This is by now a familiar argument from jihadis, and represents a significant development from the middle years of the last decade, during which it seems to have been possible (or at least thought to have been possible) to use Web forums for this purpose. To offer, as just one example, the words of Abu ‘Amru al-Qa’idi on this matter: . . .the thing which spoils these [jihadi] forums is the fact that it is a target for all of the international intelligence agencies. Also, all Arab (governments) and non-Arab countries that are enemies of Islam have groups of apostates inside this forum who try to deceive the believing youths. So for this reason we want to tell our brother (candidate) to be careful (while inside the forums) with his brothers. They must not speak about anything or any operation or anything like this inside this forum. Further, they must not try to correspond with anybody privately (via emails or phones) because this is dangerous. What is important, however, is the way in which this canny assessment of the viability of forums as facilitators of offline, violent behaviours is matched by another discussion about the range of behaviours which can constructively be undertaken online. We see this particularly well summed up in the following

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post, which attempts to set out a brief manifesto for internet jihadis through the exemplar of the most famous of them: Irhabi007. As it says: Often we hear, and it is said: Should we serve the jihadi media or mobilize for jihad and emigrate? The absence of some of the members of the forums, or the media groups, has influenced many. The presence of a brother cannot be replaced in his field. . . . . .Supporters of the jihad of those who have not mobilized to the land of jihad and who have not associated with an organization, and our words are about them, those who have mobilized or served the jihadi media and not sought emigration, and especially our words are about the most experienced, and best known among them. We must know that conveying what is – by the grace of God – our jihadi media, today, and after this stage of formation, cannot be left to individuals, but rather is the responsibility of groups with our knowledge, the presence or absence of which is of great significance. This is not to say that the poster denies the ultimate superiority of physical jihad. And indeed, he explicitly recognizes the importance of seeking emigration to the lands of jihad, and of preparing for individual terrorism. He also recognizes as one of the list of virtues attributed to Irhabi007 (real name Younes Tsouli) that he was, allegedly, involved in an online plot for a bomb attack at the time of his arrest – but he is again careful to discourage emulation by declaring that ‘according to the situation now’. . . of ‘security known to be present in the field’ such actions, if they were performed by Tsouli, are no longer viable. Instead, he offers the following programme: The object is the complete transmission of experience to the Internet. It is true that one of our brothers is missing, and by God he has left a profound influence in the heart. But it is necessary that jihad not rely on any single person. And if we have experienced a loss, then I say as a media mujahid that we have not joined except so that we can experience imprisonment. We ask God for mercy and forgiveness. I ask God to accept us for recruitment to the lands of jihad and martyrdom. Right now, your duty is to have conveyed all your experience and all your information to others, whether in a manual, or forum threads, and you will have a reward, God willing, which will reach you after death and martyrdom. A brother who is inventive in the field of graphic design of videos or banners, if he presented a study, and tried to summarize the essence of what he knows will, God willing, complete the preparation of ten others beside himself. It

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is true that every brother has skills and creativity. But the transmission of information remains necessary, and it influences many. Another example: a brother who is a munshid, if he mentioned to us the programmes he uses and the useful programmes, and ways to record (but with the condition that this does not implicate him, or constitute a security risk), and this munshid brother has a voice and an outstanding way of singing nashids, but by this means there become known, and we see, twenty munshids who did not know how to get started. And always the words of the one who works in a certain field will have a place in people’s hearts. What is striking here is the emphasis on the specific practices rather than on the general content or types of rhetoric involved in doing internet jihad. For the poster, internet jihad is conceived as a community bound together not just by the common interest in jihadism, but by the sharing of technical and artistic expertize, all facilitated by the particular technologies (digital recording, graphic design) made available by the internet. Indeed, given how restrictive are the bounds for self-expression by speech in online jihadi contexts, it might be argued that it is actually in the practices that we are most likely to locate the personal justifications for online engagement in jihadism. Thus, for jihadis, the internet very clearly makes possible certain things – all of which are worthwhile areas in which a person may build expertize and reputation, take personal pride and obtain the esteem of his peers. At the same time however, it also seals off and acts as a barrier to certain other kinds of activity, by virtue of the fact that it is (as presented by the jihadis, at any rate) a space which is continually subject to surveillance and infiltration – a world of surfaces which can be enjoyed for their surface appearance, but must not be assumed to be what they seem.

Affording internet jihadism What is interesting about the way in which jihadis discuss both what can, and what ought not to be done on the internet, when they celebrate the material experience of being online and lament their separation from the physical actions of the lands of jihad, is that they are, in effect, producing an account of the internet which presents the medium as embodying structural possibilities and constraints which, to some extent, determine how it can be used. In this sense, they would appear to concur with those social scientists who have sought to understand human interactions with the internet in terms of the concept of affordance. Thus – coming from rather different ends – Taylor and

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Quayle (2008) have proposed that certain illegal online activities such as the collection of child pornography may be seem to be enabled by a ‘criminogenic’ online ecology. Their argument is that the physical nature of the Web – its pointand-click explorability leads some people, in a sense, inexorably into a process which will lead to the collection of child pornography. On the other hand, as mentioned above, Hutchby (2001) has argued that, contrary to understandings of technology as fundamentally shaped by human agency, the reality is that, in their day-to-day activities, humans are significantly constrained by the finite physical possibilities which technological artefacts offer. But a significant further point to make here is that, simply by describing the perceived constraints of the internet medium, internet jihadism necessarily also produces a discourse that of necessity also says something about the value of jihadi internet use. For in saying that the internet is not useful for, say, ‘joining the jihad’ or forming violent conspiracies, but that it is good for collaborating in the production of jihadi nashids or disseminating jihadi propaganda, it is necessarily implied that these latter are still valuable and worthwhile activities. Thus it may be proposed that physical affordance and ideological framing exist in a dialogical relationship: constraints on what one can do (and the perception of such constraints) impact on what one ends up saying, which in turn potentially impacts on the types of ‘cultural constraint’ which come to be accepted. This is, in the end, nothing more than the logical corollary of what Norman has to say about the role of culture in contributing to the ‘cognitive mapping’ by which people interact with objects. Both the fork and the chopsticks afford lifting food into the mouth, but the cultural frame still has some work to do in determining whether, and how we actually use one of these possible methods. But if this is so, then there seems to be no reason for thinking that the opposite process might apply. That is, that individuals’ cognitive mappings about the practical functioning of this or that artefact might, if publicly expressed, ultimately inform a cultural (or in this case subcultural) set of expectations about how one ought to act in relation to that artefact. It is worth spelling out what this line of reasoning implies for the present matter under consideration. We might reasonably assume that jihadis are, in point of fact, in rather a good position to judge as to whether the internet actually offers an unfettered space for activity, or whether it constrains them in certain ways. Thus, the argument of this paper should not be misconstrued as suggesting that when jihadis say ‘do not use the internet to join the jihad’, that they are in fact insinuating ‘let’s pretend that we can’t use the internet to join the jihad as a way of excusing ourselves from this obligation’. Rather, the argument is that what ends up being said – perhaps initially for reasons that

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seem to be purely the product of practical circumstance – in turn produces new cultural possibilities and available pleasures. And these may then amount to a de facto shift in the phenomenon as a whole – even at the ideological level. The argument is basically a restatement of Althusser (2001, p. 168) when he speaks of how Pascal ‘scandalously inverts’ the normal understanding of ideology, by positing that its origins can lie in repetitive, ritualistic behaviour, rather than the other way around. In other words, by putting internet jihadis into a situation of false anonymity, the internet requires of jihadis that they warn other jihadis that they are not free to act in certain ways within the online situation (which, after all, is the only situation which internet jihadis, by definition, share). Inevitably then, it also constrains them – when recommending collective courses of action to be undertaken by the online community, to recommend non-violent types of action. This in turn produces a set of non-violent shared experiences and practices into which deep emotional significance is invested. The upshot of this is the production of what is, in effect, a legitimating discourse of internet jihadism which is (albeit subtly) at odds with the legitimating discourse of violent global jihad. From the individual perspective, this helps to provide a set of pleasures which, on a day-to-day basis, may continue to motivate ongoing online engagement. And yet this is not to deny the agency of the jihadi who still chooses to go online, despite being aware of the limitations of the medium. Being an internet jihadi is not a matter of openly – or even consciously – repudiating the ideology of Al Qa’ida. But it does still require that one accept what is implied by being an internet jihadi – which is to be, as I hope I have shown – a quite particular thing. That is, not (yet at least) a participant in violence, but one who nonetheless lives out an explicit commitment to participation in violence. Indeed, if I am correct, it is worth pointing out that an implication of this diagnosis would seem to suggest the internet jihadi (perhaps even in his role as the supposed mujahid ‘hacker ’)7 is the precise inverse of the hacker in the true sense of the term. For just as the hacker (following Jordan, 2008) seeks through Promethean ingenuity a moment of subversive and ecstatic escape from the prison of technological determination, so it seems that the internet jihadi may seek, through the protective restraints of technological limitations, to experience the thrill of a virtuality which is nonetheless intimately and inseparably connected to the ultimate physicality of violent death. While ordinary Muslims stop up their ears, the internet jihadi binds himself to the mast, so as to hear, but be restrained from acting on, the siren’s call.

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Conclusion Where does this leave us? In opening with the case of Roshanara Choudhry, there was no intention of cracking the problem of why this particular person tried to assassinate an MP with a knife. If such a case can ever be solved, it certainly cannot be with access to nothing more than newspaper headlines. However, by setting up the problem as I have tried to do in this paper, I hope that I have shown that there is at least a way of perhaps making some progress on this sort of conundrum. Since we are looking for needles in a haystack, I modestly propose that we do better to put the haystack in some kind of order than to catalogue those needles we have so far managed to find. In the meantime, there are two specific points which, I hope, may be of at least some practical relevance. First, I would argue that it ought to be recognized that communities – even those based around the shared consumption of violent radical content – may under certain circumstances not only be surprisingly pacific (behaviourally speaking), but may even be rather protective. If this is so, then it suggests that we may usefully rethink the often implicit notion of a linear progression from intellectual ‘radicalisation’ through to actual participation in terrorist violence. This is precisely the pathway that jihadi recruiters such as al-Awlaki wish to present. But this alone is reason to suspect it as a model. What if the course of a ‘normal’ engagement with jihadism leads somewhere quite different? If that were so, then actual engagement in violence might better be seen as the outcome of some kind of individual crisis rather than an unrestricted personal evolution. Second, it is important to note that the very fact of (or at least, the belief in) surveillance and undercover activity in jihadi webspace itself has a cultural and, in a sense, ideological effect on jihadism. Terrorism and counter terrorism form – particularly in time – a co-evolving system. By altering the structure of possibilities – of affordances of cyberspace, jihadis can for example find that they are offered ways of busying themselves usefully online, and arguments for not trying too hard to take things offline. Such actions arguably help subtly to shift jihadism not so much by redefining jihad, but by redefining the concept of qital (i.e. fighting – which jihadis consider basically a cognate of jihad), to glorify what are essentially forms of non-violent activism as contributions to holy war. The wider point here is that we should appreciate the possibility that some of the ‘narrative’ battles which the British government has committed itself to through the Prevent strand of the national counter-terrorism strategy

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may actually be better won through counter-terrorism action in other parts of the strategy, and the corresponding impact such action may have on creating different realities for those engaging in jihadism, realities which may incrementally cause the jihadists themselves to reimagine their violent commitments. That is, that rather than existing as an essence to be ‘challenged’ by methods such as counter argumentation, the incremental achievement of more immediate aims such as those enshrined in the other three strands of the CONTEST strategy may, in subtle ways, provide the key to winning the ‘war of ideas’ – albeit in ways that may not be immediately apparent at the time. A final comment: in Sun Tzu’s day, when information was a scarce commodity, it might have been enough simply to ‘know yourself, and know your enemy’. Today we must do better. Only if we can transcend ‘the enemy’s’ self-knowledge, penetrating to the basic structuring elements which produce that self-knowledge, can we move beyond the self-perpetuating certainties that seem to govern terrorism and counter terrorism alike.

Notes 1 Al-Suri uses the term ‘Islamic Awakening’ as a very broad category to refer to all Islamic revivalist movements, political or otherwise, from the twentieth century onwards. The term seems to distinguish what might be called ‘ordinary’ or ‘mainstream’ Muslims from those who are additionally active in some way in an Islamic movement. Similarly, he uses the term ‘jihadi current’ to refer to those Muslims who support or seek to engage in violence within the broader context of such movements, especially revolutionary violence aimed at the governments of Muslim majority states. 2 Pl. manhaj, meaning ‘method’ or ‘way of living’ 3 Creed 4 Monotheism 5 Islamic sacred law 6 Preaching (lit. ‘call’) 7 The most famous of these – Younes Tsouli – was, judging by the evidence of the manual he authored, not much more than a so-called ‘script kiddie’.

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5 Affording terrorism: Idealists and materialities in the emergence of modern terrorism1 Mats Fridlund University of Gothenburg

Enter terrorism: The opening shot Modern terrorism emerged out of the meeting of a revolutionist and a revolver, of idealist motivations and materialist capabilities. This paper will make the case for a wider perspective on the emergence of terrorism, and add to the importance of ideological machinations the impact of technological machines. It argues that just as we cannot understand the breakthrough of ‘international’ terrorism in the 1960s without taking into account the capabilities and characteristics of airplanes and television sets, we cannot understand the breakthrough of revolutionary terrorism in the 1880s without revolvers and dynamite bombs. Before the 1870s sub state terrorism did not exist as a recognized and distinctive political practice. The violent act that crystallized the new tactic of ‘revolutionary terrorism’ took place in January 1878 in the capital of Imperial Russia, St Petersburg. This was the shooting of the city’s governor General Feodor Trepov by the social revolutionist Vera Zasulich. She herself has left us an account of the act:

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It was already growing light on the street, but the half-dark station was completely deserted. I changed [clothes], exchanged kisses with [her friend] Masha, and left. The streets looked cold and gloomy. About ten petitioners had already gathered at the governor’s [office]. “Is the governor receiving?” “He’s receiving; he’ll be right out.” . . . I was satisfied. The nightmarish feeling that had weighed on me since the previous evening was gone without a trace. I had nothing on my mind but the concern that everything should go as planned. The adjutant led us into the next room, me first, and put us in a corner. At this very moment [governor] Trepov entered from another door, with a whole retinue of military men, and all of them headed toward me. For a moment this confused and upset me. In thinking through the details, I had found it inconvenient to shoot at the moment I presented the petition. Now Trepov and his entourage were looking at me, their hands occupied by papers and things, and I decided to do it earlier than I had planned – to do it when Trepov stopped opposite my neighbour, before reaching me. And suddenly there was no neighbour ahead of me – I was first. . . It’s all the same; I will shoot when he stops the next petitioner after me, I cried inwardly. The momentary alarm passed at once, as if it had never been. “What do you want?” “A certificate of conduct.” He jotted down something with a pencil and turned to my neighbour. The revolver was in my hand. I pressed the trigger . . . a misfire. My heart missed a beat. Again I pressed . . . a shot, cries . . . Now they’ll start beating me. This was next in the sequence of events I had thought through so many times. But instead there was a pause. It probably lasted only a few seconds in all, but I felt it. I threw down the revolver - this also had been decided beforehand; otherwise, in the scuffle, it might go off by itself. I stood and waited. “The criminal was stunned,” they wrote later in the papers. Suddenly everybody around me began moving, the petitioners scattered, police officers threw themselves at me, and I was seized from both sides. “Where is the gun?” “She threw it – it’s on the floor.” “The revolver! Give up the revolver!” They continued to scream, pulling me in different directions.” . . . Everything went as I had expected (Engel and Rosenthal, 1975, 81–2. Emphasis in original).

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That it went as Zasulich ‘had expected’ indicates that this was not a spontaneous act of revenge but a planned act of symbolic political violence. This planning and the deliberate choice of a representative victim were central in making this into the first terrorist deed. Although not publicly known at the time, this was part of a larger plot including at least one other coconspirator, the friend Maria ’Masha’ Kolenkina of whom Zasulich had taken leave immediately before her attack on the governor. After parting, Masha had gone away to execute a similar and simultaneous assassination attempt against another Russian government representative, a former prosecutor in a trial against Russian radicals. However, Masha failed in creating the possibility to also fire her hidden revolver and it was Vera Zasulich’s shot that came to spark a number of similar violent political deeds, outside and inside Russia. One of the first theoreticians of terrorism in 1880 praised Zasulich’s attempt as the origin of the new revolutionary violence. This shot was the starting point for the whole struggle that followed. From this point on the movement took on definitive form, and it went on almost without deviation towards the new, already clearly established ideal. People unknown to society or government appeared out of nowhere and started to dispose of one or another statesman. . . . From this time on, the events become more and more grandiose (Morozov quoted in Gross, 1972, 103–4. Emphasis added). This ‘new, already clearly established ideal’ was terrorism, which from then on was recognized as a viable political practice. Zasulich’s act together with the other founding deed of nineteenth-century Russian terrorism, the bombing assassination of Alexander II in 1881, is used to demonstrate the role that an analytic focus on technology can play in understanding the development of terrorism as an emergent political practice. This inaugurated what political scientist David Rapoport has described as the first wave of international terrorism which became the ‘first global or truly international terrorist experience in history’ and where ‘similar activities occur in several countries, driven by a common predominant energy’. In Rapoport’s model this energy was ideological in the form of ‘Anarchism’ (Rapoport, 2004, 47). Contrary to Rapoport’s and other studies of the origins of modern terrorism this chapter attempts to supplement such reliance on idealist motivations by focusing on terrorism’s materialist and sociotechnical foundations (see also Fridlund, 2007). This will enhance the understanding of the central role of technology in affording new threatening possibilities for political action. The overall argument outlined here is that terrorism is the sociotechnical result emerging out of

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the meeting of an idealist revolutionist and a materialist technology ‘script’ (Akrich, 1992). This perspective belongs to what Domanska has described as ‘new material studies’ which are interested in studying things beyond texts, and ‘points to the agency of things, accentuating the fact that things not only exist but also act and have performative potential’ (Domanska, 2006, 339). Such a perspective is also a post-humanist account, which by Andrew Pickering’s description is one ‘in which the human actors are still there but now inextricably entangled with the nonhuman, no longer at center of action and calling the shots’ (Pickering, 1995, 26). In support of this approach I need to introduce a concept that captures the enabling and constraining role of technology in applied political practice, what I call sociotechnical affordances.

Sociotechnical affordances: Bridging and enabling aspirations and technologies That technology can play critical parts in shaping political actions is not a controversial statement, especially in the minds of those who have lived through the Cold War with its nuclear weapons politics of balance of terror and Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). What is more controversial is to argue that technologies constrain, enable or even determine political outcomes. The standard critique against such statements can be said to follow two interconnected lines of argument: the first is to demonstrate the fallacy of technological determinism, and the second to show the prevalence of social voluntarism in technological processes. Technological determinism can be described as the notion that technologies develop along autonomous trajectories that are determined and propelled by internal technical criteria. The extension of this argument is that technological developments are a force outside of society that cannot determine its inevitable direction or content and instead have no choice but to adapt to and be changed by the demands of technologies. One of the general critiques of technological determinism is that technological development cannot be autonomous or inevitable as the preferred design, use and characteristics of technologies are outcomes of social processes of choice, adaptation and redesign which inevitably include social negotiations and therefore the results of social groups’ voluntary choice. However, social voluntarism has also been criticized to overly emphasize the possibilities of ‘reading’ and reinterpreting the possible meanings of technologies and the flexibility of their various uses. What such voluntarism does not take fully into account is to what degree these choices are already circumscribed or predetermined by technologies. How, as

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Claude Fischer has described it, the ‘existence and use of a technology alters material and social givens, creating new options for and new constraints on individual actions’ and how technology ‘becomes more than a tool for action, it becomes a condition of action’ (Fischer, 1985, 295). As a way between the Scylla of technological determinism and the Charybdis of social voluntarism I propose the concept of ‘sociotechnical affordances’ as a fruitful tool for historians of political change to re-address the question of how technology has shaped politics. This is an appropriation and modification of the concept of affordances formulated by the evolutionary psychologist James J. Gibson (1907–79). Affordances can be described as the ‘possibilities, enablements and constraints’ made available by technology, and can be described in terms of an ability (portability, concealability, etc.) that the characteristics of a technology makes possible for its use when it is matched with appropriate user capability (Hutchby, 2006, 166). This idea that technologies afford certain kinds of interactions and behaviours and not others has begun to be taken up in design studies as well as in the sociology of technology by scholars such as Mike Michael and Ian Hutchby (Michael, 2000a, b; Hutchby 2001a, b). However, historians studying political change have previously not adopted affordances. The main popularization of affordances in connection to technology came when Donald Norman introduced it to the design community in his book The Psychology of Everyday Things (1988), later republished as the paperback The Design of Everyday Things (1990). This was a simplified version of Gibson’s theory of affordances, primarily formulated in The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception (1979) as a way of addressing ‘one of the most fundamental theoretical issues of modern psychology, the reality of meaning’. (Costall, 1995, 468). According to Costall, Gibson claimed what ‘we attend to in our surroundings, are not the shapes, colours and orientations of surfaces in our surroundings, but rather the meaning of things for action. We can see, for example, that something can be eaten or thrown’ (Costall, 1995, 470). Or to quote Gibson directly: The same layout will have different affordances for different animals, of course, insofar as each animal has a different repertory of acts. Different animals will perceive different sets of affordances therefore. . . . The meaning or value of a thing consists of what it affords. Note the implications of this proposed definition. What a thing affords a particular observer (or species of observer) points to the organism, the subject. The shape and size and composition and rigidity of a thing, however, point to its physical existence, the object. Both these determine what it affords the observer. The affordance points both ways. What a thing is and what it means are

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not separate, the former being physical and the latter mental as we are accustomed to believe (Gibson, 1971/1982, 407–8). It is this relational quality of an affordance which makes it a central way of bridging and surpassing the created dichotomy between technological determinism and social voluntarism and which merits my designation sociotechnical affordances. Gibsonian affordances are inherently sociotechnical or hybrid, they are ‘aspects of a given technology’s materiality which only really become relevant at the interface between that technology and some person’s attempt to put it to use for certain purposes. The concept is therefore a relational one and its main use is in showing how action is either enabled or constrained by material factors’ (Hutchby, 2005, 668). An affordance ‘represents a means by which both the materiality of technologies and the observable orientations of technology users can simultaneously be taken into account’ (Hutchby and Barnett, 2005, 152). In this way, a sociotechnical affordance is an ability for action that is the relational outcome of when a user’s specific skill capability is matched by a technology’s material functionality. A pocket calculator affords the ability of calculation if the user knows arithmetic and the calculator has the proper software and hardware for calculation, a car affords driving only if the user knows how to operate the wheel and gears and if the car has gas and is fully operational. However, to be able to use affordances for historical purposes it is necessary to make a couple of distinctions about different kinds of affordances. First it is important to emphasize that although a technology often has one intended way of using it, its ‘canonical difference’, (Costall, 1997, 79) this does not mean that a technology has only one affordance, on the contrary a material thing may have a great many different possible ways in which it can be used. Each is an affordance. . . . Thus a floor affords walking, dancing, placing furniture; a window affords a view of the lake, an escape from a threat, a view for a peeping Tom; a knife affords cutting, threatening, opening a window catch, and lots more (Harré, 2002, 27) In addition, it is important to emphasize with sociologist Will Gibson that affordance ‘is also intended to describe the ways in which new usages can emerge from the interaction of cultural knowledge and physical properties’ (Gibson, 2006, 175). This is what I would describe as unintended emergent affordances in contrast to the intended affordances designed by inventors, designers and engineers. Furthermore, to the historian it is important to emphasize that a technology’s canonical and auxiliary affordances are not necessarily constant but might change over time; they might emerge, evolve and disappear. All this taken together makes it possible to talk

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of three different kinds of historical affordances: designed, discovered and disappeared affordances. Designed affordances are the intended affordances of a technology, purposefully constructed to be the canonical or auxiliary ability of a technology by its designer. Discovered affordances are unexpected or unintended abilities of a technology that is discovered by its users – such as the use of a book as a door stop or a passenger airliner as a cruise missile – or that emerge as possible following the development of new user capabilities or additional technologies that did not exist at the time of its invention, such as television sets being used as computer screens. The history of technology has many examples of technologies, like the telephone, the canonical or dominant uses of which, such as for sociability and gossiping, came at a later stage in their development, or the mobile phone for which we still are discovering and constructing new affordances decades after its invention. Similarly, the affordances of a technology might disappear if the user capabilities or technical functionalities vanish globally or locally, like Sumerian tablets or floppy disks which no longer afford reading as we no longer have the capability of understanding the language or lack the equipment to operate them. In considering terrorists’ use of technology we are primarily focusing on the unintended, emergent, rather than designed affordances, such as when automobiles and passenger airplanes afford their use as car bombs and ‘human cruise missiles’ (Hoffman, 2006, 133) or when Russian idealists discovered the potential for a new form of revolutionary propaganda afforded by small and powerful revolvers.

Idealists: Radicalizing populists In 1862, Ivan Turgenev’s novel Fathers and Sons led to the naming of the young anti-authoritarian Russian populists as ‘nihilists’, a movement which gradually developed into a more explicit social revolutionary movement. The practical breakthrough of terrorism was preceded by a process of what we now refer to as radicalization – an acceptance and willingness to use violence to achieve political change – of parts of this populist movement in the form of the development of an increasingly more militant and violent culture among Russian populists. Among the populists there was somewhat of a difference between ‘propagandists’ and ‘agitators’ about the proper way towards revolution. The former were followers of Peter Lavrov and focused on achieving the revolution through peaceful propaganda inculcating a socialist consciousness among the peasants, while the latter adhered to Mikhail Bakunin’s glorification of rebellion through agitation using specific grievances and protests to foment

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local uprisings that would ignite a widespread revolution. Both these tactics were to be tried in the 1870s before we reached the origin of ‘terrorism’ at the end of the decade. First out were the propagandists. During the spring of 1874 thousands of Russian university students had left their dormitories for ‘going to the people’, to go and live and work with the peasant communes in the countryside and workers of factories in villages and cities to propagandize the gospel of social revolution. However, this was a failure overall; peasant and factory work was too long and hard and the audience too alien, uninterested or suspicious (Offord, 1986, 1). Next out were the agitators. In Kiev in the Russian South there was a group of revolutionists known as the Southern Rebels (Iuzhnye Buntari) who, inspired by Bakunin’s idea that the peasants were ‘inherently’ revolutionary, believed they needed ‘practical insurrectionists that would inspire them to act’ rather than ‘solemn teachers intoning revolutionary theories’ (Bergman, 1983, 24; Siljak, 2008, 154). In 1876, the Southern Rebels left the city, dressed as country-dwellers, to offer the peasants ‘weapons, men and the backing of a large revolutionary organization’ which they expected would start the coming nationwide uprising. The rebels travelled between villages ‘preaching to the peasants that they should act in their own self-interest and rise in revolution against the state’. However, the Buntari had naively expected that their presence and offer would be enough to spark an uprising but, as in the case of the propagandists, the peasants did not want or believe the Buntari’s revolutionary ability and promises of violent social revolution and many agitators soon returned to city life (Siljak, 2008, 157–9). Back in the city there was a growing tension following several arrests of populists and stories of secret police spies and infiltrators. The growing fear of betrayals among the rebels made it a widespread habit and ‘common practice to carry a revolver at all times’ and the police allegedly ‘kept their distance from the Buntari because they feared that they would respond with gunfire’ (Siljak, 2008, 162; Bergman, 1983, 26; Venturi, 1960, 598). A critical step towards terrorism was taken in 1876 when some Buntari attempted to assassinate the alleged informer Gorinovich, bashing his head in with a ball and chain, pouring acid on his face and leaving him for dead with a sign around his neck saying ‘Such will be the fate of all spies’. This was an important and radicalizing event as it was the first known predetermined and planned act in Russia by revolutionists of representative violence; previous activities had been peaceful with two exceptional and spontaneous acts of armed resistance to arrests (Meincke, 1984, 160; Siljak, 2008, 162; Bergman, 1983, 28). However, Gorinovich survived the assassination attempt and informed on his former fellow Rebels, which led the Buntari to leave Kiev and abandon

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their countryside efforts. As one of them put it: ‘Activity among the peasants becomes impossible. . . . we shall try in the cities. We are all armed. We decide on individual struggle against the government, armed resistance to arrest; we shall liquidate spies, traitors [and] . . . officials’ (Michael Frolenko quoted in Ulam, 1977, 247). Several Buntari in December 1876 arrived in St Petersburg and joined the new radical organization, Zemlya i Volya (Land and Freedom). Although the new organization worked mainly through underground propaganda activities, it had also partly embraced previous violent talk about the acceptability of self-defence and ‘disorganization’. It stated that one of its missions was ‘to weaken, to shatter, that is to disorganize the power of the state, without which, in our opinion, the success of even the broadest and best devised plan for revolution will not be guaranteed’ (Hardy, 1987, 48). Originally, this violence was supposed to be reactive rather than proactive and limited to self-defence and protection although that also included elimination of traitors and spies (Hardy, 1987, 53; Ulam, 1977, 250). But so far there had been only one disorganization victim: the previously mentioned Gorinovich. But in 1877 Land and Freedom’s disorganization group was inaugurated with the killing of a worker who had informed on a populist leader to the police (Haberer, 1995, 149; Ulam, 1977, 277). So, although the Buntari had failed in revolutionizing the peasants, they had succeeded in contributing to radicalizing the populists and by 1878 an increasing number of radicals ‘were making a point of carrying arms’ (Hardy, 1987, 58). But to fully understand this radicalization we have to analyse not just populist and nihilist ideologies and motivations but also their technologies and materialities. That the devil is in the details is never more fitting than for the post-humanist history of terrorism. Let us consider therefore the violent materiality that together with radicalized idealists was to coproduce terrorism – the revolver.

Materialities: Civilianizing revolvers The mature revolving pistol design can be said to have emerged during the 1860s when the military was the dominant handgun customer and the different military cultures of Europe and the US shaped the revolvers on the market. US warfare after the end of its civil war was to a large degree ‘more of a guerrilla warfare with her native inhabitants’. It was characterized not by large battles but by sudden and relatively short surprise skirmish attacks with relatively few casualties. In this kind of warfare the ‘keys to survival’ in military arms were not so much speed but ‘rugged reliability and some degree of

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accuracy’. This was something that characterized single action (SA) revolvers (Wilkerson, 1998, 19–20). ‘Single action’ meant that when the trigger was pressed the revolver only executed one single action, that of releasing the cocked hammer which then hit and ignited the bullet which sped out of the barrel towards its target. This meant that the hammer before and between each shot had to be cocked manually to ready another bullet in the revolving cylindrical magazine to be fired. This was different from the double action (DA) revolvers which, when the trigger was pressed by itself, cocked the hammer, revolved the magazine and in the same movement dropped the hammer firing the bullet. The double action was more popular in Britain, in part due to its different military situation in which struggles against colonial insurrection and wars of colonial expansion and consolidation predominated. These colonial shoot-outs took place overseas in Africa and Asia as well as on the home front in Ireland. This was the period of the ‘new imperialism’ which was shaped by as well as shaped the development of European guns (Headrick, 1981). British military forces were often greatly outnumbered in close quarters battles by large groups of native enemies armed with primitive but efficient hand weapons. That produced a demand for handguns with rapid fire and large ‘man-stopping’ firepower, which could incapacitate more native soldiers at a greater distance, that is, before they could deploy their dangerous hand weapons. Doubleaction revolvers afforded this ability, through being able to fire several shots in succession until the magazine was empty without needing to manually cock the hammer between shots. It was also possible to use two revolvers simultaneously which was very valuable in close quarters combat against many enemies. Compared to Americans ‘Europeans were more interested in the rate of fire than in accuracy’ and the preferred European handguns in the 1870s were double action revolvers of large calibres such as .45 or .50 (Wilkerson, 1998, 19). Also significant was the development of the revolver during the 1870s from being primarily a military technology to becoming a product directed towards civilian markets. This ‘civilianizing’ of the revolver meant that manufacturers started to design particular models with specific civilian affordances. Part of that consisted in an increased use of small powerful pocket revolvers. The growth of a new civilian revolver culture is shown by the Colt company’s development of their first double action revolver for the European market. Since 1874, Colt’s European agency in London had been encouraging the company to start manufacturing a double action revolver to be able to compete in Europe, as that was ‘what now sells best in this market’. The sales of Colt’s small revolvers in Europe as well as in the US ‘had been badly eroded’ due to ‘numerous low quality pocket pistols by various manufacturers’ forcing the

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company to drastically lower their prices. Many of those manufacturers came from Belgium that was one of the largest revolver manufacturers in the world, although mainly of lower and cheaper quality than the British and American firms. In 1875, the London office reported to the US that ‘they make in Liege scarcely any new pistols but of that system: self extracting double action revolvers. Any new revolver to have a fair chance of success, must be of that construction . . ., the public prefers it, and that argument is unanswerable’. Colt had resisted developing a double action model mainly because of the ‘very large expenditure for tools’ such a new product line would mean. However, by 1876 Colt ‘finally accepted the fact that double action were the way to go’ and to be able to compete the London agency had started to offer British made DA revolvers to its customers (Wilkerson, 1998, 22–5). On New Year’s day 1877 Colt shipped their first 21 double action revolvers to Europe, a small six-shot pocket revolver of the smaller .38 calibre. But the affordances of this revolver, its lethal abilities, were not deemed sufficient for the European market. Colt’s London office soon asked for the manufacture of a more powerful revolver, ‘a .45 cal. self cocker like the British Bulldog or Irish Constabulary revolver, we would sell a great many of them, and I have no doubt they would take with time in America. Please consider the matter’ (Wilkerson, 1998, 25). This Bulldog revolver was an embodiment of the new ‘civilianized’ military revolver. It was introduced by the British company P. Webley & Son and can in hindsight, when considering its centrality in the development of modern terrorism, be described as a case of ‘blowback’ or something of an ‘own goal’. It had been developed as a weapon for use by one of Britain’s colonial forces against insurgents and rebels (Worman, 2005, 197; Layman, 2006), the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC), the police force in Ireland and a paramilitary police force the purpose of which was ‘to police a foreign land to ensure security of the imperial elements and the colonial interests’ (Das and Verma, 1998, 354). Its military character was reflected in its weapons. It was armed with rifles, carbines and revolvers in contrast to the unarmed bobbies of the empire’s heartland (Myatt, 1980, 12). The RIC was a large user and buyer of revolvers and in 1868 Webley introduced its Constabulary model, which was a double-action six-shot model of the large .442 calibre (Layman, 2006, 17). After a couple of years, Webley decided to try to market this revolver towards the civilian market, but it needed modification ‘in order to make it a more attractive product for the general population’ (Layman, 2006, 17). In 1872–73, it was redesigned as a smaller but mechanically similar five-shot revolver with a shorter barrel but of large calibre ‘entirely suitable as a concealable weapon of considerable knockdown power at close ranges’ and described by a contemporary English sportsman to be ‘as good a weapon as can be recommended for purposes of self-defence at close

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range, the disabling powers of this pistol being on account of its large bore, of fair amount’ (Layman, 2006, 17; Worman, 2005, 116). But, despite the revolver becoming increasingly a civilian consumer product, the major buyers were still the military, and one of the biggest military orders came in 1870 when Russia decided to equip their cavalry and artillery troops ‘with a modern revolver’. The one they chose was Smith & Wesson Russian .44 calibre Military Model, a modification of Smith & Wesson’s Single Action Army Revolver, the first large-calibre revolver designed for metallic cartridges. This modified revolver came to be known as the ‘Russian Model’. In 1872–78 almost 150,000 Smith & Wesson cavalry revolvers were introduced to Russia. Among them, one ‘Russian Model’ played an indirect part in the origin of the ‘Russian Method’, the tactic of political terrorism pioneered by Russian social revolutionists.

Affording political violence: Zasulich’s armed propaganda by the deed Vera Zasulich was a veteran revolutionist and had taken part in the ‘go to the people’ movement before she together with her fellow student Kolenkina had joined the Buntari in 1875. The two women had gone out in the countryside together with male rebels posing as village wives and after a while the two women ‘began to carry revolvers and practiced shooting daily’ (Siljak, 2008, 159). Zasulich supposedly also ‘strapped a pistol to her belt and went along’ when her fellow rebels travelled to the country side to incite the peasants (Bergman, 1983, 26). However, Zasulich after about a month was ordered to return to city life and by the end of 1876 she left the South for St Petersburg to work as a typesetter in Land and Freedom’s underground printing press (Meincke, 1984, 152, 158). In St Petersburg Zasulich supposedly was so enraged about the government persecutions of populists and impatient with the delay of other planned nihilist protests that she formed a plan together with Kolenkina – and most likely aided by other fellow Buntari – to assassinate two government officials who had been involved in persecuting the ‘going to the people’ movement: they were Zhalekhovsky, the prosecutor in the so called Trial of the 193 and Senator Zhikharev who had ‘ordered the arrests of thousands’ of propagandists. The plan however changed when they heard how the arrested populist Bogoliubov had been given a severe beating in prison after not showing enough deference to the visiting general-governor of St Petersburg, Fedor Trepov. Following this Trepov replaced Zhikharev as the second target in their plot (Maxwell, 1990, 28).

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The background to Bogoliubov’s arrest is another illustration of the prevalence of revolver culture among the radicals. Bogoliubov was actually a cover name for the seasoned radical Alex Stepanovich Emelianov who had just taken part in setting up a secret populist office for making fake passports. He had been warned to stay away from a planned populist demonstration and had gone to a local rifle range to practice shooting his revolver. But on his way home he could not resist going to watch how the demonstration had turned out and when he then was apprehended ‘his practice weapon was found on him, and this was all the proof the authorities needed of his criminal complicity’ (Meincke, 1984, 235). The conspiracy of Zasulich and Kolenkina illustrates something general about the history of terrorism and counter terrorism. This is that, although the historical and contemporary record of terrorism is filled with similar aspirational or fantastical assassination plans, many of them have stayed on the drawing board or in the heads of radicals. What makes Zasulich’s different and critical to the history of terrorism is that it came to fruition. And it is in understanding why that is the case, why it succeeded rather than failed or foiled, that an analysis of the various sociotechnical affordances of the terrorist technologies that could have been used can help us. It is theoretically possible that Zasulich and Kolenkina could have achieved their deed more effectively or equally spectacularly with other technologies like knives, rifles or bombs. But we don’t know that and cannot better their local and specific knowledge. What we do know – and this is a central part of the argument – is that Zasulich did not feel that she could afford to accomplish her planned act with just any kind of technology. It was the very specific affordances of her chosen weapon that were critical for her to accomplish her deed. We know this as she actually rejected a weapon she already had in favour of another that was more suitable. The weapon technology she already had was a Smith & Wesson revolver, probably the same one she had worn on her horseback trips among the Buntari and it was most likely one of the 150,000 imported Smith & Wesson single action ‘Russian Models’ cavalry revolvers mentioned previously. One major design modification of the Russian Model was to shorten the long (8 inches) barrel somewhat (Hogg and Weeks, 223–4; Kinard, 2003, 131–3; Boothroyd, 1970, 245–6). Nevertheless, it was still quite long which had the advantage of giving it high accuracy although with some difficulty in handling ‘in situations requiring speed rather than precision’ (Hogg and Weeks, 223). The importance of this was that the Russian Model was a large powerful military weapon focused on accuracy and firepower, very suitable to be used at a distance or from a horseback when you had the time and opportunity to take good aim before every shot. Zasulich’s planned assassination attempt did not afford

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such conditions. Zasulich is supposed to have considered using her Smith and Wesson, but had ‘rejected it as too long to be concealed in her clothing’ (Ulam, 1977, 269). It lacked the affordance of concealability. Instead she had one of her Buntari friends go and buy her (and probably also Kolenkina) a smaller and less bulky revolver designed with affordances more suitable for personal protection, affordances which as easily could be turned to personal attack. The particular revolver she chose was the previously mentioned British Bulldog. This was a new type of civilian pocket revolver, small, compact and concealable but also powerful as it was based on Webley’s Constabulary paramilitary revolver, and having many of its lethal affordances: double-action rather than single-action, and powerful at close distance but with lack of high accuracy which was less necessary at a close distance. This was the revolver Zasulich used in the assassination attempt as its affordances much better made possible her planned clandestine killing than her large Smith and Wesson Military revolver. She could easily hide the Bulldog under her shawl and shoot at Trepov. In particular, the fast multiple-shooting ability of this double-action revolver enabled Zasulich after her first misfire to fire a second shot that hit Trepov without anyone of Trepov’s protective ‘retinue of military men’ being able to stop her (Engel and Rosenthal, 1975, 81). A single-action revolver with its necessity to manually recock between each shot would have been much more conspicuous and time consuming. So although the two revolvers shared many lethal affordances the ones they did not share turned out to be critically significant to Zasulich in making the choices she did and in carrying through with her violent deed. Although the original plan partly failed in that Kolenkina on the assassination day did not get access to Zhelekovsky, Zasulich’s deed made it into a success. It also appeared as if Zasulich’s shot had succeeded in more than just wounding a representative of the Russian government, it had also demonstrated that a new political practice was possible. Overnight she had transformed previous blustering bold and violent words about striking back against and hurting the state into irrefutable reality and midwifed a new violent political practice. She was not the inventor of ‘propaganda by the deed’ but she was its innovator as she had realized a demonstration of the theoretical invention and showed its power in practical use. For many revolutionists and radicals, Zasulich’s shot was a decisive and igniting moment and a number of violent deeds involving firearms, defensive and offensive, outside and inside Russia followed. This included several assassination attempts against heads of state: against the Spanish king Alfonso XII, the Italian king Umberto I and twice against the German Kaiser Wilhelm. Inside Russia populists started to shoot back against the police when they came to arrest them which was new as armed resistance had

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previously ‘felt to violate the etiquette governing such proceedings’. Less than a week after the shooting of Trepov the police met with gunfire when they came to break up a secret populist printing press. The leader of the group Ivan Kovalsky was ‘a declared proponent of armed struggle’ and when he ‘was ordered to empty his pockets’ he pulled out a revolver and shot at the police officer (Ulam, 1977, 275–6; Hardy, 1987, 58). This act of militant ‘protest’ deeply impressed many radicals as Kovalsky’s group were the first ‘to put into practice one of the rebels’ principles, “not to allow themselves to be taken like sheep” ’ and ‘to practice what they had preached: namely to launch an armed struggle with the authorities in the name of political freedom and social revolution’ (Venturi, 1960, 598; Haberer, 1995, 151). Another act of armed resistance involved Kolenkina. She had managed to stay in freedom for several months until her apartment was raided by the police when she ‘pulled a gun from under her pillow – she always carried a revolver – and shot twice at one of the policemen’ (Hardy, 1987, 72). So, she got to fire her hidden revolver in the end. After this first phase of ‘radicalization’ the further development of terrorism was characterized by its consolidation and institutionalization in which sociotechnical affordances played a central part.

Institutionalization: Designing a systematic strategy and scientific technology of terrorism After emerging as a more or less spontaneous, however planned, act of ‘armed propaganda’ to use a twentieth-century term, the new violent revolutionist practice gradually became more self-consciously recognized, systematic and organized. Part of this was the formation the year after Zasulich’s shot of Russia’s first organized revolutionary party and the world’s first self-declared ‘terrorist’ organization, Narodnaya Volya (The People’s Will), which became the prototype for subsequent terrorist organizations and central in naming and systematizing the new violent method. Originally this new kind of political violence had been discussed in more reactive terms such as ‘disorganization’, ‘armed resistance’ and ‘self-defence’ but now the term ‘terrorism’ gradually came to predominate. In addition to its assassination activities, the People’s Will was also occupied with devising a more systematic ideological and theoretical structure around the new political violence. One of its leading ideologues was Nikolai Morozov who from exile in Geneva published the pamphlet The Terrorist Struggle

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(1880) in which he recognized the importance of Zasulich in demonstrating a new way towards revolution and asked what was the likely fate of this new form of revolutionary struggle which could be called ‘terroristic revolution’? . . . This presents really a new form of struggle. It replaces by a series of individual political assassinations, which always hit their target, the massive revolutionary movements, where people often rise against each other because of misunderstanding and where a nation kills off its own children, while the enemy of the people watches from a secure shelter and sees to it that the people of the organization are destroyed. The movement punishes only those who are really responsible for the evil deed. Because of this the terroristic revolution is the only just form of a revolution. . . . The lifeless forms of governmental hierarchy will exist up to the time when the nation will become aware of its rights and will rise en masse. The nation will wipe out the hierarchy, and a new better system based on the needs of freedom and justice will be built on the ruins of the old order. . . . Terroristic struggle which strikes at the weakest spot of the existing system will obviously be universally accepted in life (Morozov quoted in Gross, 1972, 104, 106, 108, 111). This was an ideological and theoretical justification of the ‘new form of revolutionary struggle’ that was to replace and make unnecessary the traditional revolutionary battles of the barricades with a new systematic method. This was also one of the first times that the new method was described as ‘terrorist’ and soon the term was disseminated in public when Russian newspapers in 1880 described the accused in a trial of revolutionists as ‘members of a selfproclaimed “terrorist party” (terroristicheskaia partiia) and identified themselves as “terrorists” (terroristy)’. In 1881, at a trial of People’s Will members, the group can be said to have been given its ultimate recognition when the state prosecutor described the group’s struggle as ‘terror raised to the level of political theory’ and Morozov’s pamphlet as ‘terrorist theory’ (Verhoeven, 2008, 100–1). In addition to advancing a systematic ideology of terrorism, the People’s Will contributed to the development of an equally systematic technology of terrorism. In 1879, the group started a systematic campaign to assassinate Czar Alexander II, which was grounded in promising international technological and scientific advances. Morozov described the new terrorism as a struggle ‘of science and education against bayonets and gallows’ and the ‘terroristic revolution’ as being the ‘most convenient form of a revolution’ as at no time ‘before in history were there such convenient conditions . . . for such successful methods of struggle’ (Quoted in Gross, 1972, 103). These conditions primarily came from the nineteenth century’s Second Industrial Revolution. Compared to the earlier revolutionary violence of mass insurgencies and battle on

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the barricades the new terrorism was seen as a product of industrial and technological development, it was a rational and scientific violence. Claudia Verhoeven has expressed terrorism as ‘regicide reproduced in the age of science’ and the application of ‘scientific expertize and clinical [medical] experience to politics’ (Verhoeven, 2009, 149). This came with the innovation of the dynamite bomb. Here we can see the development of a new practice that was to shape the terrorism of the following century and beyond. The group of populists that was to become the People’s Will had already in 1878 under the direction of the former engineering and medical student Nikolai Kibalchich started a systematic programme to develop a new kind of bomb using dynamite. They saw themselves as representing a new stage in history in which traditional weapons like knives and guns were no longer sufficient. What was seen as necessary was a new progressive weapon. This was dynamite, an industrial technology developed by Alfred Nobel based on the scientific discovery of nitro-glycerine. In the 1870s, Nobel had invented gelignite, a more powerful kind of dynamite, and the one that the group started to try to develop for assassination. One terrorist said that ‘dynamite gave a terrible power to the powerless’, and when another member had proposed to use a pistol to kill Alexander II it had been rejected as that ‘would not have created the same impression’. It could be interpreted as an ‘ordinary murder’ rather than ‘a new stage in the revolutionary movement’ (Iviansky, 1977, 47). Ann Larabee has described how the new terrorists ‘were devoted to creative destruction, the annihilation of old lives, old institutions, old civilizations, to make way for the new. The dynamite bomb was the ideal weapon to display this radical energy. An explosion was a spectacularly visible way to announce great change, the apocalyptic advent of revolutionary transformation’ (Larabee, 2005, 195). The desirable affordances of dynamite were not just its high explosive qualities which would make it more possible to kill the well-protected Czar, but also the ability to signal a systematic, scientific, serious and innovative organization behind the bombs. The first public presentation of the new terrorist technology was an unsuccessful assassination attempt in 1879 using a dynamite mine that exploded under a train with the Czar and it was followed some months later with another dynamite explosion inside the Czar’s Winter Palace in St Petersburg. Finally in 1881, the People’s Will was successful when they assassinated Alexander II with two gelignite-filled hand grenades. Also in this case the concealability and portability affordances of the dynamite bombs were critical in achieving the nihilist’s goal. The new tactic and the new technology were soon appropriated by other radical militant organizations. First out were various US-based Irish-American Fenians who used ‘denny-o-mite’ in a number of terrorist bombings in Great Britain. That was followed by several Anarchist bombings in Italy, Germany,

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United States and Spain. ‘The Russian Method’ continued to spread into a global wave of political violence culminating in August, 1914 with another momentous shooting when Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife was assassinated by the Yugoslav nationalist Gavrilo Princip who previously tried twice to join a Serbian army volunteer group but had been rejected as ‘too small and too weak’ (Smith, 2008, 18). However, on that August day a Browning 1910 semi-automatic handgun and an unused hand grenade afforded Princip new abilities and opportunities to engage in political violence. By this time terrorism had found its shape in a systematic ideological tactic, an organizational form and two canonical materialities – the gun and the bomb. And civil society to this day lives with and suffers from the violence these weapons afford militant idealists.

Exit terrorism: The opened door In May 1878, just a few months after Zasulich’s assassination attempt, Ivan Turgenev, baptizer of the nihilists, was apparently inspired to also depict their turn to terrorism. This was in The Threshold, a poem about a Russian girl standing in front of a huge building wishing to enter its door and the ‘gloomy darkness’ behind. From the building’s depths a ‘slow hollow voice’ questions her preparedness for the ‘hatred, mockery, contempt, insult, prison, sickness and death’ awaiting her if she enters (poem quoted in full in Oliver, 2010, 93). It ends with an emphasis on the strength of idealist convictions on the threshold of radicalization: “You will perish – and no one, no one will even know, whose memory to honor!” “I need neither gratitude nor pity. I don’t need a name.” “Are you ready for crime?” The girl lowered her head. . . “I am ready for crime.” The voice did not immediately renew its questions. “Do you know,”it began finally, “that you may lose faith in what you now believe, you may come to understand, that you have been deceived and have ruined your young life in vain?” “I know this as well. And I still want to enter.” “Enter!” The girl stepped across the threshold – and a heavy curtain fell behind her. “Fool!” someone snarled from behind. “Saint!” came from somewhere in response.

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Turgenev’s depiction of radicalization focuses on the importance of idealism and voluntarism of revolutionists and of the differing interpretations of those motives and their political value and effectiveness – how foolish or praiseworthy they are. But as has here been argued, such an idealistic focused description of radicalization is not enough to understand the emergence of terrorism. It needs to be complemented by another perspective on this door, on what unlocked and opened it in the first place so that the revolutionist could exercise the choice to enter it or not. Such a perspective is provided by historian of technology Lynn White Jr in Medieval Technology and Social Change (1962) and his account of the importance of another military technology – the stirrup – in the rise of a different politicalism – feudalism. Here White tempers the importance and potentialities of social choice with that of technological agency: The historical record is replete with inventions which have remained dormant in a society until at last – usually for reasons which remain mysterious – they ‘awaken’ and become active elements in the shaping of a culture to which they are not entirely novel . . . As our understanding of the history of technology increases it becomes clear that a new device merely opens a door; it does not compel one to enter. The acceptance or rejection of an invention, or the extent to which its implications are realized if it is accepted, depends quite as much upon the condition of a society, and upon the imagination of its leaders, as upon the nature of the technological item itself (White, 1962, 28. Emphasis added). The emergence of terrorisms old and new in such a perspective concerns how matches are realized between idealist motivations of aspiring militants and lethal abilities of enabling materialities, the discoveries by radical militants of sociotechnical affordances of revolutionary violence and propaganda enabled by new civilian and industrial technologies. The path towards modern terrorism described here began with individual Russian revolutionists embracing the new civilian use of revolvers and was followed by their radicalization through their discovery of the revolver ’s affordances not just for reactive self-defence but also for proactive assassinations. From such occasional violent deeds by various individual radicals terrorism was further developed into a recognized, systematic and collective political practice through the sustained bombing campaign against Alexander II, enabled through dynamite’s spectacular and explosive affordances. From then on the ‘Russian method’ of terrorism continued to spread widely through space and through time. To uncover what forges such matches between radical motivations and lethal materialities, and how revolutionary abilities for terrorism are afforded,

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we must look both at what opens new doors and what makes people enter them. And this is equally important whether we are interested in studying those who have entered or in wanting to find ways to keep them forever outside, locked out and afforded no choice.

Note 1 The writing of this chapter has partly been funded through the research project ‘Spreading terror: Technology and materiality in the transnational emergence of terrorism, 1866–98’, funded by the Swedish Research Council and the University of Gothenberg.

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6 Affordances and the new political ecologies Roy Williams University of Portsmouth

Introduction The increasing use of ‘affordances’ in educational research, human computer interface design and psychology (Laurillard et al., 2000; Costall, 2008; Norman, 1999; Noë, 2008) marks a shift into a more explicitly ecological1 framework for describing and analysing perception, action, learning and innovation. Ecologies in this sense are self-organizing, interactive, adaptive and thrive on variance and redundancy2. In ecologies, ‘survival of the fittest’ means the fittest to adapt to changes in the environment, and even to adapt the environment itself, rather than ‘survival of the strongest’. Affordances are more than just passive or objective opportunities that the environment or the technology offers: affordances are not ‘in’ the environment, but ‘in’ your interaction with it. It might be useful to start with an example: the Two Times Table.

The Two Times Table Take two scenarios: In scenario A, an adult comes into a room and sees a table, chairs and a table cloth. The adult says: ‘That’s great, there’s a nice table and table cloth, so with a bit of rearranging, and some better lighting, I can invite some friends over and we can have a dinner party’. In scenario B,

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a 4-year-old child comes into the same room, and says ‘That’s a problem. The table is too high for me to draw on, but too low to walk under, as I’m likely to bump my head. But wait a minute, if I turn it upside down, and throw the cloth over the top of the legs. I can invite some friends round, and we’ll have a great house to play in’. The room, the table and the table cloth are the same in both scenarios. The affordances are radically different, and in practice they conflict with each other. The affordances are the opportunities that the room offers the particular people in each scenario for making sense of, and acting in that environment, using the same space and materials, but in quite different ways3. The adult and the child’s individual and social identities and positions are inseparable from the way they perceive and act within them and use them, within a microcommunity. Depending on the outcomes of the uses of the table in the two scenarios, the child and the adult’s identities will be enhanced or bruised afterwards. They may reassess whether these affordances are desirable. Their learning and their identities are interdependent in more ways than one. Some of the affordances that they explore, benchmark and master will be put behind them as unfortunate ‘learning experiences’, while other affordances will become integral to their ongoing identities. They may also develop a community of like-minded people who share and consolidate their affordances within a micro-community.

Why affordances, and why now? Affordances are the product of interactions between an actor4 and its environment. Each interaction contributes to the way the actor makes sense of the environment, and potentially changes both actor and environment. These interactions may depend on particular properties of the actor and/ or the environment, but the properties of either the actor or environment, necessary though they may be, are not sufficient for the affordance to be realized; affordances are realized within the interaction between actor and environment. In other words, an affordance is something that is only realized when you carry out an action5. And that, in turn, may depend on the creativity and the mettle of the individual concerned. There are several reasons why the term affordance is both relevant and timely for our understanding of political violence and terrorism in general, as well as in the particular political ecologies of the digitally networked world of the twenty-first century. If we start off with a definition of affordances as

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the product of interactions between an agent and its environment, we can identify some of the key elements of affordances, its development and why it is relevant now.

Perception Affordances provide us with a rigorous reformulation of the nature of perception, which is fundamental to the way people see and act within politics and within society. The idea of active-perception, or perceptive-action is based on the work of Gibson, who invented the term affordances, and whose work gave rise to Ecological Psychology, which in many ways cuts across and resolves some of the dichotomies between Behavioural and Cognitive psychology. Gibson writes that affordances are the realization of both the ‘objective’ properties of an artefact and the subjective properties of a particular use for a particular user: ‘An affordance cuts across the dichotomy of subjective-objective and helps us to understand its inadequacy. It is equally a fact of the environment and a fact of behaviour. It is both physical and psychical, yet neither. An affordance points both ways, to the environment and to the observer’ (1977: 129). Several researchers have built on Gibson’s work, and have developed and consolidated the concept of ‘affordances’, which now emphasizes both Gibson’s active perception, as well as the notion that perception is embodied, social and interactive, even from the earliest, pre-linguistic stages of development. For instance, Noë writes that ‘our ability to perceive not only depends on, but is constituted by, our possession of . . . sensori-motor knowledge. . . . perceiving is a kind of skillful bodily activity . . . perception . . . is not a process in the brain, but a kind of skillful activity on the part of the animal as a whole’ (2006: 3). Costall emphasizes the social embeddedness of affordances. He writes that ‘affordances are not just relative to us, but relate to us . . . objects have been shaped . . . designed . . . they have a place in relation to definite cultural practices . . . the reality that is known is already a social reality’ (1985:477). And Reed provides evidence for the fundamental nature of active/ perception, right from pre-linguistic infants. He writes that infants actively structure the environment, not just ‘perceive’ it or even just ‘participate’ in it. ‘All social animals actively structure their environment . . . including infants interacting with their caretakers after 6 months . . . the one year old child is not only capable of acts of joint attention (⫹) with her caretaker, she is capable of promoting attention and action to specific aspects (⫹) of their shared attention [even though] the child’s means for directing the attention

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of others are largely non-verbal (⫹).’ (Reed, 1993: 8–9, cited and discussed further in Williams, 2009: 15). Noë supports this ‘enactive’, or ‘embodied’ view of active/perception. He writes that perception is embedded in sensorimotor skills. ‘Perception is an activity of exploring the environment, drawing on an understanding of the ways in which one’s movement effects one’s sensory relations to things . . . perception is a kind of knowledgeable or thoughtful exploration of the environment. Indeed, thought, like perception, is a kind of skilful access to the world itself‘ (Noë, 2008: 663–4). A discussion of more recent issues can be found in Costal and Dreier’s book, Doing things with things (2009).

Self-organized adaptation Ecological psychology, in turn, has drawn on some of the fundamental aspects of evolution and in particular on complexity theory (or complex adaptive systems theory, CAST) to understand the nature of active, embodied and environmentally embedded action and perception, and the link between selforganization, replication and adaptation (Rihani, 2002; Blackmore, 2008). This is based on a correct understanding of Darwin’s notion of the ‘survival of the fittest’, namely, survival of the fittest to adapt (and evolve), rather than survival of the strongest. In evolutionary terms, the evolution of new species is essential; cloning is literally a dead end.

Variance and innovation Variance and diversity are key to innovation and adaptation. This allows for the expression of variance in behaviour in the ‘same’ kind of actors, even in the ‘same’ circumstances. This is based on variance at a number of cumulative levels including: variance in the genetic code and in its expression in reproduction and in behaviour; variance in the linguistic code (the way sounds are combined into words) and in the meaning that different communities ascribe to signs; and variance in the digital codes which sample and represent digital media in various ways, at various resolutions and the flexible ways in which digital media can be combined and reworked. At each stage in this evolutionary development, the process of coding and abstraction makes a new range, and a new kind of variation, distinction, combination and recombination possible, ending up in the complex ‘mashups’ of digital media, social software and virtual worlds in which even identity can be varied and reinvented endlessly.

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It is this multi-level, globally networked environment that provides the unprecedented variation, interaction and access to information and networks that is the foundation for the affordances of the twenty-first century. Let us explore some of these affordances by looking at scenarios from insurgency, counter-insurgency and terrorism. However, it might be useful to discuss some of the terms first.

Terrorism and political violence There is ‘no single definition of terrorism that commands full international approval’ although the FBI definition: ‘the use of serious violence against persons or property, or threat to use such violence, to intimidate or coerce . . . “has some virtues’ (Taylor, 2010, citing the work of Carlile, 2007). Schwartz et al. use a simpler definition: ‘the deliberate targeting of civilian sites for attacks, designed to result in the destruction of those sites and/or the injury and death of non-combatant civilians’ (2009: 537–8), which will be used in this discussion. Targeting civilians is an extraordinary thing to do, and it raises questions about the kind of context that gives rise to it. Several researchers on terrorism identify issues of identity as key. Erikson writes that ‘when historical and technological development . . . severely encroach upon deeply rooted identity . . . on a large scale, youth feel endangered . . . whereupon it becomes ready to support . . . a collective condemnation of a totally stereotyped enemy . . . which becomes available for organized terror and for the establishment of major industries of extermination’ (1993: 89, quoted in Schwartz et al., 2009: 547). The dividing line between terrorism and political violence is not as clearly defined, so a provisional distinction will be used, namely that terrorism necessarily includes ‘noncombatant’ casualties, whereas ‘political violence’ at least makes an attempt to avoid civilian casualties, although the same does not apply to civilian ‘assets’ (in the military sense of the word). This chapter will not enter into the debate about the causes of terrorism or political violence in any detail, but it might nevertheless be useful to sketch out some of the more obvious implications of the above formulations. First, there would seem to be a link between a perceived threat to the (civilian) identity of a group, and its attempt to retaliate by threatening the civilian population and/or assets of the other party. Second, this seems to be applicable to conflict between states (either in times of war or peace), between groups (‘sectarian’ conflict) and between a group and a state or states. Third, this seems to be applicable to what in the Apartheid conflict was called ‘structural

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violence’, that is, systematic administrative violation of a whole range of civil, political and human rights against a (majority) group by a (minority) regime – an analysis which could well be applicable to many other contexts, including several countries in the Middle East. Fourth, these first three criteria could be applicable to conflict between major powers, but they are probably more applicable to ‘asymmetric’ conflict, that is, where mainstream channels for political participation and change are perceived to be closed or irrelevant.

Scenarios It might be useful to describe some scenarios in which we can explore relationships between the kind of affordances that are available to people, and the way in which this intersects with issues of identity, possible threats to identity and possible responses and retaliation. It is not possible within this chapter to also explore the ways in which identity is maintained or threatened, and the role of perceptions and propaganda in this process. Suffice it to say that there is a body of research on the role of cultural and political narratives in this process (e.g. Knorr Cetina (2005) on Al Qa’ida’s narratives), which broadly agrees with Taylor and Horgan (2006) that it is more useful to see terrorism not as a socio- or psycho- pathology, but rather as a ‘process’, which might best be countered if we can ‘change the choices made for the potential terrorist from violence to other means of [political] expression’ (p. 586). The three scenarios are: the Afghan farmer’s dilemma, the insurgent’s election dilemma and the religious fundamentalist’s dilemma. The Afghan farmer’s dilemma is an illustration of one of the most threatening ways of opposing the Western alliance’s presence in Afghanistan: IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices); the insurgent’s election dilemma illustrates the way civilian populations are often caught up in asymmetric conflict, and the religious fundamentalist’s dilemma, although it can be seen in many different ways, impacts directly on the issue of the ‘slaughter of the innocents’. These scenarios will be briefly described here, then the issue of affordances will be discussed in a more detailed framework, after which these scenarios will be discussed at more length.

The Afghan farmer’s dilemma The farmer in Afghanistan has the opportunity to acquire fertilizer. He can be a successful farmer by combining specific chemical potentials of the fertilizer with: (i) the potential legal market for potatoes or (ii) the potential illegal

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market for opium. Or (iii), he can try to become a hero in the insurgency, by combining other potentials of these chemicals with the potential for military disruption and battlefield victory, by making IED’s. A range of people may become wealthy, die or be killed as a consequence of the realization of these three scenarios, including adults and children, possibly specifically targeted, but possibly random.

The insurgent’s election dilemma The insurgent in Vietnam, or Sierra Leone, is faced with a dispersed, rural, civilian population, which from time to time is invited (and/or coerced) by the government of the day to participate in elections, and thereby legitimize the current regime. The insurgents can send a powerful message to the rural population as a whole that they participate in elections at their peril, by cutting off the hands or arms of people in villages which voted in the election.

The religious fundamentalist’s dilemma The religious fundamentalist can ensure their own honour and esteem within an earthly and spiritual community by combining their own ability to sacrifice their lives with the potential for causing havoc in public places, including the random killing of innocents who happen to be at that location at the time. In all these cases there are many different affordances that may or may not be realized, many possible consequences and many communities and discourses6 are involved. The actual consequences of these actions will, inevitably, be accepted and endorsed in some communities and rejected in others. The consequences may also change the status of the actors and of their actions in those communities: they may become heroes or outcasts. In addition, the actors themselves may be changed by the consequences of their actions, and they may or may not be willing to carry out, or even endorse, similar actions in the future. Affordances are realized at the point of interaction of an actor with the environment, but they are carried out within the ongoing maintenance and development of the actor’s identity within social communities and discourses. Realizing affordances is not a hypothetical exercise. It leads to consequences, depending on what you want to be, or are prepared to become and in what community. Affordances are also realized against the backdrop and heritage of social memes and cultures, which are crucial parts of the social environment in which interactions take place. In answer to Costall’s question (1995) as to

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whether affordances are social, the answer is yes, they are, although they are also at the same time individual (see Costall and Gibson, above). Affordances are realized within a biological and social ecology, often within more than one social community, or discourse. Affordances are ecological in the sense that they are adaptive and new, at least for the particular actor or set of actors at the time. They are innovative, and are differentiated from existing uses and norms, although they may become new norms in due course. Affordances are capabilities that the actor/s may realize, by deploying options within their own capacity, in relation to the potential of what they perceive to be available to them in the environment. But affordances have consequences for other affordances, and for the affordances of others. Evolution produces its own share of collateral damage.

Affordances and uses Artefacts, by definition, have uses. Anthropologically, things that are used as ad hoc implements become ‘tools’ by repeated use by individuals in a community. As Barthes says of signs (1977) ‘every use becomes a sign of itself’. This applies to all uses and signs, whether they are linguistic (e.g. new slang, new scientific terminology) or material. Artefacts are not just used, but are made, designed, manufactured, etc. and are created with particular uses, and users ‘in mind’, for ‘later’ and/or for ‘elsewhere’ in a community. In other words, they depend on a theory of mind, of time and of space, all of which are socially mediated; as Noë says (see above) ‘perception is a kind of knowledgeable or thoughtful exploration of the environment. Indeed, thought, like perception, is a kind of skilful access to the world itself’ (2008: 663–4). However, the artefact’s potential uses and affordances are seldom exhausted by this process. People may always find different uses for an artefact, for example, the ‘woman who used her walking stick as a telephone’ (Forchhammer, 2006). She used it to bang on the ceiling of her apartment, to tell the neighbours upstairs that she was ready to be taken on her weekly shopping trip. What we identify here as affordances are the realization of a selection of some of the ‘objective’ properties of the artefact, in interaction with some of the properties of the particular user; in the case above, the woman is still able to stand up straight enough to bang on the ceiling. ‘An affordance cuts across the dichotomy of subjective-objective – it is equally a fact of the environment and a fact of [particular] behaviour ’ (Gibson, 1977: 129),

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and this results in an extension to the actor ’s skilful access to the world, that may surprise even herself. In more detail, we can add that the affordances of an artefact include potential uses that may be: inherent, designed, assembled, disaggregated and reassembled, emergent or creative. The properties of the user include competencies, capability and identity and willingness to act in a particular context and a particular community. Capability, in turn, is defined for our purposes here as including physical, technical, psychological, social and ethical abilities and commitments. Let us apply this to our three scenarios. Note that the global network of the internet plays a role across many of these scenarios – to provide information, to establish and maintain virtual and actual communities, to profile organizations to the world.

Scenario A The fertilizer in scenario A has several chemical properties, and the outcome depends on what other chemicals are combined with the chemicals in the fertilizer. The realization of explosive affordances in IED’s may or may not achieve hero status for the farmer, depending on the reaction of the community to the consequences of particular explosions. The farmer’s capability to make and deploy IEDs will depend on all of these factors, on the information he can acquire directly or indirectly from the internet and other sources, as well as his own reaction to the explosion, and whether he, personally, remains ‘capable’ of deploying IED’s in the future. The affordances that are available to him, to embark on terror (putting civilians as well as the enemy at risk) are of course technical, but they can only be realized within the community, which will make its own judgement on whether the risk (and possible civilian damages and casualties) are worth it or not. IED’s are only an affordance insofar as the affordance ‘works’ for both the actor and the group that he or she is part of. If not, the same IED could turn out to be a dis-fordance for both the actor and the group. The amputation of hands or limbs in scenario B is technically challenging – the amputee has to survive for this affordance to be realized; the dis-fordance of being an amputee merges, in a macabre way, with the affordances of the insurgent’s warning to others. The ‘traces’ that are inscribed on the amputee are similar to the ‘traces’ that are inscribed in the media coverage (and recordings) of the spectacular propaganda of the deed in other contexts, such as 9/11. The traces function as a ‘text’ to communicate terror to others. In this

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scenario, the affordance can be ethically and psychologically challenging at a personal level; it depends on whether the person doing the amputation is ‘capable’ of such actions at the time, is comfortable with the results and is willing to do so again or not. In cases like this the borderline between affordances and dis-fordances for the insurgent is very fine, and potentially unstable. The immediate affordances could even backfire, if the ‘terror ’ of the amputation of children’s limbs mobilizes the international community to intervene, more so than it mobilizes (or coerces) the rural population to stop voting. Affordances are ecological, and therefore each realization of an affordance potentially affects the knowledge, identity and status of the actor concerned, and can affect the broader social environment – positively or negatively. One of the advantages of describing these kinds of events in ecological terms, using the concept of affordances, is that actions are seen as adaptive, and to have an effect (positive or negative) within a context which is, in turn, adaptive. The context is part of a wider social ecology, so there are potential knock-on effects between various micro-contexts, as well as between particular micro-contexts and a range of broader contexts, both immediately and over time. This means that the observer has no guarantee that they will be able to predict future outcomes too accurately; but what can be observed are trends, in mutually adaptive relationships between actors and contexts. An ecological approach does not preclude the identification of predictable outcomes, it just provides a potentially rigorous methodology for dealing with those particular situations in which, to use the terms of complexity theory, ‘actor and structure co-evolve’ (Cilliers, 2005). The fundamentalist’s scenario (C) is even more complicated (or simpler, depending on how you look at it). He or she has to be capable of committing suicide, and being able to justify this in terms of a metaphysical community, which invariably includes dilemmas, for instance between the slaughter of innocents and the waging of holy crusades – issues which can often only be resolved by choosing between different temporal interpreters and interpretations of the ‘same’ holy texts. These are hard choices, in terms of action and personal identity. The negotiation of identity within shifting contexts of conflict, particularly of insurgency, where uncertain boundaries are one of the contested issues, is difficult. Decisions that are taken to realize specific affordances in these contexts are complex and often emotionally difficult because of family ties, and because of the risks involved in targeting random civilians, some of whom may turn out to be people the actor would not like to target. This paradoxically makes the restricted affordances of absolute religious doctrine potentially attractive to suicide bombers, as it removes any ambiguity by providing a

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restricted and metaphysical framework, which removes any considerations of ‘this’ world, because it has been replaced by the ‘next’ one. This means that in different contexts quite different kinds of affordances may be attractive – in terms of doctrine, the more restricted the affordances, the better for the suicide bomber – by restricting ambiguity and providing clarity. But in terms of technical possibilities, the more flexible the better, so that the bomb-makers’ options are not restricted, and the precise type of bomb they make might be (somewhat) less predictable to counter-terrorism personnel.

Working definition So what are affordances? An Affordance is the product of interactions between a person and their environment, each of which potentially alters their knowledge, competencies and identity, and potentially alters the (micro-) environment, consolidating or disrupting elements within it. Affordances are closely linked to the processes of learning and innovation, both of which involve: exploring, creating, benchmarking and mastering new affordances. Affordances are about change and adaptation (See Figures 6.1 & 6.2, below). But it is not helpful to call everything an affordance (Norman, 1999), as the term then loses its specificity, and language becomes clumsy.

Resources Uses

Actors Active-Perception Perceptive-Action Affordances

New Uses

FIGURE 6.1 Affordances and uses.

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Resources Competence

Uses

Curiosity Adaptation Innovation

Actors Active- Perception Perceptive-Action Metaphors & Science

Affordances New Uses

Capability Inventions

Further Affordances

Repertoire of Affordances

Technical Capacity

Personal Capability & Identities Different and Potentially Clashing Communities & Professional & Networks Cultural Discourses

FIGURE 6.2

Identity & Power

Identity, capability and power.

We can start by distinguishing between affordances and uses, and by mapping out the relationship between the two terms (Figure 6.1). Sometimes things and resources just get used, taken at face value, with no regard to the broader possibilities of potential affordances: for example, a walking stick, which is used for exactly that – to assist in walking. As Costall says, ‘objects have been shaped, even deliberately designed . . . they have a “place” in relation to definite cultural practices, and “represent” various human practices; their reliable and safe functioning depends on a social system of mutual responsibilities and obligations’ (1995: 476–7). However, even the uses of the walking stick can be extended and extrapolated, as it potentially has affordances to be used ‘in lieu of a telephone’ (see above). It also has potential affordances to be modified into a ‘shooting stick’, and be used for sitting on; the shooting stick in turn has potential affordances for being used as a gun rest, for shooting and so on. Affordances are the product of the intersection between the subjective and the objective, or the properties of the actor and artefacts in the environment.

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Insofar as these properties are new to an actor, they are perceived as new affordances for that actor, but once the actor becomes a member of a group who routinely use the artefact for the same function as everyone else, it becomes a use. However, one particular use (as in ‘assisting walking’) can be modified or extended, as new potentials are explored, created, realized and consolidated, in new contexts. The new contexts, similarly, are defined by, and are a product of, the intersection between the ‘subjective and the objective’ – the use of a walking stick as a telephone will not ‘come to mind’ to all elderly women who need to coordinate their shopping with the tenants in the apartment above them, and some of them would not be able to reach their ceiling to knock on it, even if they did wanted to do so. So affordances, once broadly established, become uses, which in turn feed into the next iteration of affordances, either on their own, in modified forms or functions, or in combination with other uses and affordances, possibly even in new inventions (see Figure 6.2)7. In this way affordances, innovations and uses percolate through the social ecology: sometimes fading out, and sometimes emerging as newly established memes (cultural micro-practices), like shooting sticks, or even Blackmore’s temes (micro-practices based on technologically more complex artefacts) like mobile phones, which have to operate within complex mobile cellular networks. However, the transitions between affordances and uses can be very confusing. This applies particularly with changes like the restructuring of private and public space, which happens with the introduction of mobile phones (Williams, 2007). Both memes and temes have a tendency to take on a life of their own, and spread ‘virally’: by what used to be called ‘word of mouth’ but which can now take place instantly and exponentially within the ‘scale-free’ media of the internet. (Scale-free networks are networks which allow for exponential communication and spread throughout a global network, at very low cost or effort. The spread of (micro-) news videos, recorded on mobile telephones, for example, at the Mumbai massacre in India in 2008, are now common examples of instant, ‘scale-free’, global dissemination, which takes place outside the structures and constraints of traditional news organizations, and often outside the regulatory control of nation states. More pertinent to terrorism is the practice of ‘Necklacing’, that is, burning informants alive, with car tyres placed over their upper arms, which spread rapidly within the Apartheid struggle in the 1970s and 80s. As Winnie Mandela infamously pronounced ‘with our little boxes of matches, we will liberate this country’. There is a whole subset of affordances that relates to asymmetries of power, and the means of pursuing asymmetric conflict. Few of these

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more extreme affordances (such as the 9/11 attacks or Necklacing) pass into common ‘usage’ by definition, but they remain important affordances that people may choose to re-establish in particular circumstances. Kitchener’s scorched earth and concentration camp innovations in the South African wars at the turn of the twentieth century, for instance, were eventually ‘effective’, but increasingly difficult to justify internationally. A later version of this, the use of Agent Orange in Vietnam, was probably seen as a powerful affordance at the beginning of the American involvement there, but might have become a dis-fordance later on, particularly in the eyes of the international public. The point is that we need to distinguish between (established) uses and (emergent) affordances8, although we must keep in mind that a use which is new to a particular person can be seen as an affordance for them – in other words, the process of transformation from an innovative affordance to an established use happens at both individual and social levels. And this is not merely a technical or a strategic issue; ethics often play an important role, as in the disagreements in both World War II and the recent Gaza/Israeli conflict about the retaliatory bombing of civilian areas. We also need to make a distinction between active and prescribed perception. Active- perception /or/ perceptive-action is creative and interactive; it is curious about different properties and possibilities, both in the immediate context and in other actual or hypothetical contexts. On the other hand, a perception that goes no further than existing, prescribed uses confines the person (and the artefact) to instrumental action and normative compliance9.

Identity, capability and power As we have seen in the scenarios above, and in the section on variance and innovation, affordances are both individual and social. They involve personal choices, will and capability, but also require a context and a community within which to develop and maintain that ‘capability’. Now that we have established a basic model which allows us to track and describe how uses and affordances percolate through the social ecology (Figure 6.1), we can go into more detail and sketch out the relationships between identity, capability and power (see Figure 6.2). New affordances not only feed into new uses (and possibly new memes and temes), but they also feed into metaphors (within informal learning), and science (within formal learning and research) both of which provide new ideas for new resources, as well as the stimulus and provocation for further affordances (see Figure 6.2). The physicist Oppenheimer, for instance, when asked by a colleague why he developed the atom bomb, replied ‘it

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was just such a beautiful experiment’. Oppenheimer had to wrestle with the consequences of this new affordance and capability throughout the rest of his life. He was lauded for producing ‘the A-bomb’, then pilloried for years for speaking out in favour of constraints on its use, a moratorium on developing the H-bomb and in favour of strategic arms limitation negotiations (Bird and Sherwin, 2008). The distinction between uses and affordances is also the basis for the distinction between ‘tool users’ and ‘tool makers’ that defines human culture and human intelligence, which in turn can be creative or macabre. Uses can be transformed into different uses, into exchange, into capital, into symbols. Hands, for instance, can be used to vote, or can be cut off as a warning to others. Buildings can be used for World Trade, or for what Stockhausen infamously called the devil’s ‘finest work of art’. A mother’s concern for her baby can be turned into a cruel instrument for attention, in Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy, in which the mother repeatedly seeks attention for herself as a carer, by deliberately making her child ill, and thus needing more caring. Costall and Dreier (2006) similarly distinguish between innovative and established uses, but they use the term ‘functional affordances’ instead of ‘uses’, which works well in the more theoretical context of their book. However, for our purposes here, the term ‘use’ seems more appropriate. The tension between the theoretical term, ‘affordances’, and the common sense term ‘use’ captures the relationship between creative and routine practice well – what Wenger calls the relationship between emergence and reification (2009). This shifts the framework a bit from previous work; and affordances can now be defined as follows:

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An affordance exists in a reciprocal relationship between the objective properties of the environment, and the action capabilities of a particular actor to perceive and realize that affordance. (Gibson, 1977).



Affordances are dynamic, and even unstable. Different actors may perceive, explore, create and exploit quite different and even contrary affordances in the same environment, using the same resources. Affordances develop along with, and as a result of, interaction between the actor and the environment, both of which may change over time.



One person’s affordance is another person’s ‘disfordance’, so what is initially an affordance may turn out to be a disfordance for others, or even a disfordance for that same person at a later stage. In addition,

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what you are actually ‘capable of’ and willing to do, can change (see the example of Oppenheimer, above). ●

Affordances are based on active/perception, and ‘perceiving is a kind of skillful bodily activity. . . .perception . . . is not a process in the brain, but a kind of skillful activity on the part of the animal as a whole’ (Noë, 2006: 3, above).

Gibson (as well as several of the other authors cited in this chapter) are concerned with developing an alternative account of what had traditionally been an almost exclusive emphasis on the cognitive aspects of perception, as if it all happened in the head, so to speak, and none of it happened ‘in the world’. The problem is perhaps best illustrated by the fact that many years after Gibson’s seminal work, we still have no single term for perceptive-action, or active-perception, although ‘embodied perception’ and ‘enactive perception’ (Noë, 2006) go some of the way to achieving this.

Identities Affordances are relational and interactive, so the subjective active/perception of the actor, as well as ‘placing’ both the actor and his or her affordances in a social context are integral aspects of affordances. Developing, realizing and expanding your repertoire of affordances is not only skilful and thoughtful, but it is also ontological – it constitutes, in large part, who you are and who you become – in short, your identity. Erikson (1993, see above) links fundamental threats to identity directly to the possibilities of embarking on terror. We can now link all of this. Affordances are important aspects of identity (see also Williams et al., 2009, which goes a bit further, and argues that ‘identity can be seen as a repertoire of affordances’). Threats to identity, which are perceived as fundamental, can prompt actors to engage in terror11. Unacceptable as this may be, it is not surprising. If we consider that a perceived threat to identity is a threat to the culture, and the (civilian) life of a particular group of people, it can make sense to these people to respond in a way that threatens the (civilian) life of the people making the threat to their identity in the first place. It would be useful, then, to explore the relationship between affordances and identity, and the way they interact in social and political ecologies in more detail. We have argued that affordances are relational, interactive and integral parts of larger ecologies. They are, in the first instance, personal – although

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they clearly can be, and are often shared by others, in which case they may become uses, cultural ‘memes’ and routine practices, which are embedded in technological systems and networks (see ‘temes’, above). Figure 6.2 sketches out the way that identity is constituted, edited, revised, rearranged and realigned, viz-à-via affordances, based on the following: ●

Competence: the ability to use resources and tools in given functions.



Curiosity, Adaptation and Innovation: the interest and the willingness to explore, create, benchmark and master new affordances (i.e. affordances which may be new to you, individually, and/or may be new to everyone).



Capability: what you are capable and willing to continue doing, in existing and in new contexts.

Your repertoire of affordances is reflected in your capability – what you are able, interested and, most importantly, willing to carry out. It includes the history and memories of how you acquired the affordances, which leaves conscious and subconscious traces and legacies – positive and negative – in the actor, as well as in other people and texts in the environment. You act within your identities, within various communities and networks12, and within professional and cultural discourses, all of which are potentially different, and may make conflicting demands on you. You exercise power within some of these communities and networks, based on your identities, your networks and your access to technical capacity. In more particular terms, power is exercised within discourses13.

Life/Death Many communities, and the affordances within them, are characterized – if not determined – by the relationship between life and death, and the willingness of the actor to put their own life, and/or the lives of others, on the line. Gandhi’s politics of ‘non’-violence, Satyagraha, included an explicit willingness to die, which he frequently operationalized in his ‘ticking time-bomb’ fasts, a tactic shared by many political prisoners. Mandela summed his attitude up at the ‘Rivonia’ trial in 1964, and again on his release many years later, saying that he had always fought white discrimination and black discrimination, ‘a cause for which I hope to be able to live, but for which I am prepared to die’. Jihadists represent a new form of ‘smart bomb’, and, if caught, see capital punishment as a guaranteed affordance for martyrdom.

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Knorr-Cetina writes in more detail about fundamentalist terrorism, and the function of ‘transcendental time’ in which the individual is ‘pulled into livingforward towards the end of a parallel life . . . while still part of an ordinary life’ (2005: 219). This temporality, she says, fulfils some of the structuring functions previously carried out by Weber’s rational authority structures.

Global and metaphysical players Identities are played out on various ‘stages’, and the affordances of scale and the profiles of these stages is very important: for example, 9/11, the Munich Olympic Games massacre, Buddhist self-immolations in public spaces, the 7/7 bombings in London, etc. There are a range of opportunities, and affordances, for becoming a ‘global’, if not an ‘immortal’ player, even if for only 15 minutes of fame. Serial murderers, and political (and celebrity) assassins may aspire to similar status. They ‘inscribe’ themselves and their actions across public space and history, using the mythical symbols of celebrity status, either their own or, even more macabrely, that of their victims. The actor’s identity and capability may be fundamentally affected by the allure of these macro-contexts and macro-affordances, which can lead to a perception of the global media environment, or even the metaphysical ‘environment’, as loaded with unrivalled affordances for threatening civilian populations and simultaneously achieving martyrdom, in quite surprising ways. And surprise is always an advantage in conflict. The question remains whether 9/11 was indeed ‘unthinkable’.

Social software and emergence The last 20 years have seen unprecedented, exponential growth in interaction and communication via social software. The quantitative changes (in traffic, growth and revenue) are staggering, but they are not the most important point. The qualitative and structural changes are what concern us here: speed, access, openness and ubiquity, as well as the flexibility to manage different identities, spaces and for new ‘voices’ to be heard across the world, in days, or even hours. Hierarchy, formality, certification and position are becoming somewhat less relevant than they used to be; ‘there is still leadership discernable in social networking, but it is grounded in and shaped by the morphology of the social networking framework’ (Taylor, 2011). Twitter is a paradigm

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example, and in 2011 it became the site for a clash between the UK judiciary’s ‘super-injunctions’ (against disclosure of celebrity affairs), freedom of the press and personal privacy. In effect, by publishing names on Twitter in contravention of a super-injunction (which prohibits the publishing of the content of the story, but also prohibits the publication of the name of the person who applied for the injunction) the ‘tweeter’ effectively made a mockery of the high court process. This will of course provoke a response, but it remains to be seen how effective that will be. The opportunities for collaboration and for publishing in complex, emerging and adaptive networks, outside of conventional social and legal norms, has potentially got profound implications. The range of affordances has increased exponentially and rapidly, even if in micro-steps. Complex adaptive behaviour, broadly, occurs when a large number of actors interact and communicate frequently, with large degrees of freedom, but within some constraints; none of the actors can see the full picture, but the network of actors nevertheless produces emergent, adaptive behaviour (Cilliers, 2005). As this kinds of social collaboration gets embedded as a new (and far more efficient) infrastructure for the way people live their lives, it will be increasingly difficult for the Mubaraks of this world to just decide to turn them off (see the discussion of Webworld, below).

The new political ecology Prior to the internet, and within the Weberian structures of the industrial and ‘post’-industrial societies, freedom of speech, association and the press could be encouraged to behave, or just shut down by controlling fairly large, expensive and cumbersome institutions – political parties, newspapers, corporate advertisers, etc. The affordances that were available to articulate and mobilize dissent and opposition were highly structured and expensive (typically national elections once every 4 or 5 years), which meant that in a context in which power was perceived to be distributed asymmetrically, the only alternative was an asymmetric response: non-violent dissent or, failing that, guerrilla warfare or even terror. In broad terms, the traditional political context can, for our purposes, be differentiated into civil, military and totalitarian discourses, and the example of Apartheid South Africa illustrates all three (Williams, 1993). Control in such societies could in the past be exercised effectively, if brutally, in a ‘closed’ system (shifting from civil to military and, if necessary, totalitarian discourse), which can maintain power for some time. Syria and Iran, in 2011,

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were interesting examples of societies trying to maintain power in such a ‘closed’ context, partly by switching off platforms like Facebook on the internet. Knorr-Cetina differentiates the politics of the old political ecology from the new very clearly in her detailed analysis of the difference between Weberian and post-Weberian social structures (see the section on Global Microstructures, below). But it might first be useful to make some broader points about the communication and interactive infrastructure of the early twenty-first century.

Webworld The distinctions between the ‘old’ world and the new, or between ‘old’ Europe and the new are less relevant in a world where one Egyptian commentator on the ‘Arab Spring’ demonstrations said: ‘Mubarak and the older generation are still living in “land-line” Egypt. The demonstrators just don’t recognize that country anymore; they are living in “Facebook Egypt”’ (BBC news, Spring, 2011). In Egypt, the government was forced to switch it all back on after just a few days; in Syria and Iran, major parts of it are permanently off, but it is far from ‘leak-proof’. This is the same world in which Lucy Annson, from UK Uncut, said in an interview with Emily Maitlis of the BBC: “We are a network of people who self-organise. We don’t have a position on things. It’s about empowering the individual to go out there and be creative.”“But is it wrong for individuals to attack buildings?” asked Maitlis. “You’d have to ask that particular individual,” replied Annson. “But you are a spokesperson for UK Uncut,” insisted Maitlis. And Annson came out with a wonderful line: “No. I’m a spokesperson for myself.” Curtis (2011). Contrary to Curtis’s sarcasm (that this is a ‘wonderful line’) and his incredulity about the effectiveness and supposed ‘naivity’ of Annson’s perspective (his central complaint is that she has ‘nothing to say about power’), this is in many ways a very interesting and clear-cut articulation of the affordances (the perceptive-action) of ‘the politics of emergence’. This approach has some affinity with previous modes of asymmetric conflict, ‘leaderless movements’ or ‘distributed leadership’, but it functions within the totally new social and economic infrastructure and context of social software, which radically restructures public and private space, political and non-political discourse,

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cycles and forms of ‘representation’, and makes possible a new ‘emergent politics’ in the strict sense of the word ‘emergent’ (Cilliers, 2005, Williams et al., 2011). That is why it is now possible for Annson to say ‘the network is the organisation’, which resonates with Sun Microsystems’ credo in the late 1990s that ‘the internet is the computer’. The interesting question about the new political ecology is the question of who is in and who is out of what might be called ‘Webworld’. The threshold for whether a country is a member of Webworld, or not, can be defined by whether the country is irrevocably committed to being ‘switched on’ to technical functions, as well as to political and constitutional guarantees, in some of the following areas (listed, loosely, cumulatively):

Universal access In telecommunications policy terms, universal access is a minimum guarantee by the State – for all people to have access to a service – in this case, the internet. It can be implemented in a number of ways to supply basic broadband services. The next level of policy is to even out urban/rural provision, which is complicated by the privatization of services. The ‘global’ nature of the internet changes the nature of political and economic infrastructure and governance, and social software restructures the nature of the ‘social’, particularly public, private and anonymous ‘spaces’.

Constitutional rights Constitutional rights have not caught up with the internet. Countries that are radically changing their constitutions (e.g. Egypt in 2011) might consider whether to include, in some way, the provision not only of general rights, but also of ‘digital rights’. For instance, freedom of speech, of the press, and more interestingly, of assembly, could be formulated to expressly guarantee rights such as the right to ‘digital assembly’.

Universal human rights Universal human rights, too, have yet to take account of ‘digital rights’. Although these rights are ‘universal’, they are generally formulated as being desirable within sovereign states. But the internet is global, which is making some of these rights (e.g. to privacy) difficult to govern, if not sometimes absurd (see above). The difficulty is that these rights need to be formulated

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across sovereign states, not just within them. Exceptions to international governance, such as the refusal of the United States to sign up to the provisions of the International Criminal Court, indicate that such global agreement on governance of these issues might be a long time coming. Universal rights (in the literal sense of the term), to access, publication and assembly, across what is left of the borders of sovereign states, is an odd thing for sovereign states to endorse, and could well be a difficult thing for national politicians to sell to their electorates.

Economic thresholds More fundamental, perhaps, to the issue of the thresholds for ‘Webworld’ is whether a country is irrevocably economically committed, in practice (rather than in policy) to the internet, because that is the way large sections of the country does business. This includes (again, roughly cumulatively): email, information, e-business and e-commerce, as well as a number of services (e.g. tax, health care, etc.) which are increasingly embedded within the internet. Many countries are already ‘living in the Cloud’ to some extent. Cloud computing is not tied to ‘sovereign states’, and is becoming ‘global’ in the sense outlined below.

Global microstructures Sovereign states are still important in international politics, and the governments of many of these states are determined not to cross some of the thresholds of Webworld, or at the very least, to hold onto the absolute right to revoke them. It remains to be seen how realistic this is in the future, technically, economically and politically. But there are some interesting examples of how some of the new ‘social morphologies’ of the digital world have already established themselves in radically new global microstructures, across sovereign states, particularly in global finance and terrorism (KnorrCetina, 2005). Knorr-Cetina sets out the foundations for a theory of micro-globalization and the new global architectures of a world society. There are several interesting aspects to this. To start with, a micro-global structure is not ‘inter-national’, as it is not based in cooperation or coordination between nation states; in many ways it functions separately from them14. It is also not a ‘network’ in the conventional sense of the term, as it includes inter-subjective associations (‘rich’ and ‘textured’ communities – see below). And finally, a micro-global

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structure is, in Knorr-Cetina’s terms, ‘light’ – it achieves global penetration quickly and cheaply, the digitally networked version of a network of the classic ‘war of the flea/s’. Micro-global structures are something of a paradox; they are not based on the large, formal, rational structures of Weberian bureaucracies. Rather, they are ‘fields of practice that link up and stretch across all time zones (or have the potential to do so), [and they] need not imply further expansions of social institutional complexity. In fact, they may become feasible only if they avoid complex institutional structures’. (Knorr-Cetina, 2004: 214). Knorr-Cetina’s micro-global structures are based on several central characteristics of complex, emergent structures and their accompanying affordances, including: ●

Light, open, emergent, adaptive systems and behaviour.



Self-organizing principles and patterns, often operating close to (the edge of) chaos.



Asymmetries, unpredictability and playfulness.



Reflexive amplification and augmentation.



Temporal rather than spatial structures and organization.

It is worthwhile to explore these characteristics in more detail. The internet has long been said to have changed society and the economy (Castells, 2001). The world has ‘shrunk’, and everyone can get in touch with everyone else on the planet, instantly, and at very low cost. As a consequence, several crucial aspects of social structure have shifted, substantially, including the boundaries and the relationships between adult and child, private and public space, personal and global communication, organizational- and usergenerated content, and access to, and the business model of, publication and participation in public discussion and debate (both trivial and serious). However, Knorr-Cetina’s micro-global structures (of finance and terrorism) go beyond these aspects of ‘spacialisation’, and are based instead on ‘temporalisation’ – the continuous, iterative 24/7 cycle of time zones, which replaces the rationality of the Weberian institutional structures (of modernism, and of consumerist postmodernism) with ‘sequentialisation’, which is not tied to any particular time zone or place, or ‘host nation’. It also provides temporally structured instability, with continuous degeneration and regeneration of the system which, far from being a disadvantage, is vital to complex emergent systems, adaptability and innovation15. Temporalization is an ‘emergent structure’: adaptive, unpredictable, flexible (uncoupled from location and the current ‘host’ country), yet still ‘ordered’ by

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the rhythms and cycles of time zones; and it relies on ‘reflexive amplification and augmentation’. Knorr-Cetina writes that the strategies of terrorist microglobal structures . . . seek and exploit the potential for disproportionalities between input and output or effort and effect . . . (which) can be distilled . . . from the use of technology, from scientific and other innovations, and from ‘media’ of various kinds used as amplifying and multiplying systems. Global microstructures may also derive disproportionality benefits from decoupling internal operations from support structures that provide for the conditions under which operations can remain light; ‘outsourcings’ of this kind also point away from the inclusive notion of an internally rationalized system. Finally, lightness may emerge in response to de- or under-regulation, which create the space for an adaptive and adaptable self-organization (2005:216). And she continues that global finance, in particular, includes . . . a level of intersubjectivity that derives from the character of these markets as reflexively observed by participants in temporal continuity, synchronicity and immediacy. These markets are communities of time, but in a different sense than the terrorist groups for which disconnections and ‘structural holes’ are a characteristic of operative practice. Though global microstructures tend to be flat rather than hierarchically organized systems, they are at the same time highly textured systems. The specific textures respecify and may in fact contradict [traditional] assumptions about network structures. (Knorr-Cetina, 2005: 217). Clearly the affordances of such microstructures are quite different from the affordances of more traditional Weberian organization. Complex behaviour, and complex structures provide radically more open affordances, or more flexible opportunities for a range of unpredictable affordances, and unpredictable behaviour. One of the benefits of Knorr-Cetina’s analysis is that she: (i) identifies the micro as a key (if not the key) level of articulation of such adaptive and innovative behaviour, and that (ii) her choice of terminology (‘complex microstructures’) emphasizes the paradox of complex systems, namely that although they are unstable and unpredictable, they are nonetheless ordered (see above). This is a far cry from the world of ‘uses’ and ‘compliance’ that characterizes Weberian organization and its accompanying styles of management16. Knorr-Cetina succeeds in laying the foundations for a theory of micro-globalization, which is a world apart from the platitudes of ‘think global, act local’. The theory of micro-globalization is ‘the view that the texture of a

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global world becomes articulated through microstructural patterns that develop in the shadow of (but liberated from) national and local institutional patterns. Microglobalization implies that . . . the micro in the form indicated instantiates the macro; micro-principles enable and implement macro-extension and macroeffects’ (2005: 214–15).

Conclusion The way we communicate and interact in 2011 is still changing rapidly, even after 20 years of the internet, web 4.0 (the internet of things) promises to continue that process. As a global community, we write, communicate, talk and create and exchange information exponentially more every decade, if not every year. Who ‘we’ are is changing too, and is becoming deeply embedded in networks which, although they may look similar to earlier, pre-internet networks, have changed fundamentally. We need a new theory of communication and interaction, to enable us to understand what is going on, and how to respond to both the opportunities and the problems that arise. There are two aspects to this: i) we are now, literally, a global community, and ii) we face many problems that require a sophisticated global awareness and can only be responded to at a global level, such as international finance, terrorism and ecological crises. A broadly ecological theory is required, to respond to the scale and the dynamic interconnectedness of what is happening. Gibson’s theory of affordances provides a foundation for thinking about how we perceive-and-act within an explicitly ‘ecological’ psychology, and several others, including Costall, Reed, Noë and Ramachandran have all taken this forward in various ways, in terms of theory and in terms of testing it against actual practice. This paper has put some ideas together on how the innovativeness and creativity of affordances ‘percolates through’ social and political action and interaction, and leave traces, residues or artefacts in the form of uses, memes and, interestingly, Blackmore’s ‘temes’ (technological memes). This is a dynamic process, and in a sense there ‘will always be another affordance’, even after we think all the possible uses have been exhausted. Nevertheless, it is argued that we need to acknowledge both the dynamic interaction between uses and affordances, as well as the difference between the two. Knorr-Cetina’s theory and case studies of micro-global structures provides a crucial advance in the debate about the way that changes in the social and economic modes of production provide affordances for radically new ‘social

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morphologies’, in fields such as finance, terrorism, political mobilization and ‘self-representation’. The notion of self-organizing actors in emergent, adaptive systems includes both the sense of representing the self, as a participant in a network, and the sense of spontaneously creating your own affordances – your own forms of (self-organized) representation and participation within a network of the like-minded, and within a time frame and cycle which you determine. The old forms of social structure and interaction have not disappeared; many will survive, but those that don’t will not necessarily even be contested. Instead, new forms of social interaction are emerging in parallel, and in true ecological fashion, the forms of interaction and representation that turn out to be irrelevant will just fade into obscurity. What is important for the argument here is that dynamic, uncertain, unpredictable and even unstable (but yet ordered) social structures and forms are, ironically, ‘establishing’ themselves. We need different theories to describe what is happening and why it is happening, and we can make a start on this if we combine a theory of how people act (affordances), how the modes of communication and interaction have changed (the internet, and the affordances of the micro/global) and how new global/unstable forms of political and economic ‘commerce’ are emerging and, already, becoming established ‘uses’ in the World Wide Web.

Notes 1 The ecological framework is based on complex adaptive systems theory (CAST), see for instance Cilliers (2005). 2 See Blackmore (2008) for an introduction to the broader issues, and to the three ecological replicators: genes, ‘memes’ and ‘temes’. 3 It is hypothetically possible to make an exhaustive list of all the potential affordances in a particular context. In practice it is impossible, as you never know who is going to turn up next in that environment, and self-organizing agents often produce unpredictable outcomes (see Cilliers, 2005 on CAST). 4 ‘Actor’: that is, in the broadest sense of the term, including even organizations. 5 It is of course possible to distinguish between affordances and potential affordances, but this is dependent on the imagination and skills of the person concerned, and the time and context that prevails, all of which are variable. So potential affordances might not actually be useful in practice, and it might be better to focus on actual affordances instead. 6 Discourse: this is used in the Critical theory sense, to mean ‘a set of practices and alliances which organises texts and bodies (animate and inanimate) in the interests of a particular community’ – for instance: professional organizations, academic disciplines and business organizations (legal or illegal), (Williams, 1992).

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7 An interesting example of how ‘affordances’ become ‘uses’ can be found in Blackmore’s (2008) presentation on memes and temes. Like genes, memes (cultural algorithms, as it were) and temes (technological algorithms) spread almost ‘virally’. Their usefulness is so apparent, and so immediate, that they are adopted quickly and widely within, or even across cultures. And there are interesting parallels to be drawn between genes and memes and temes. 8 Norman, writing about GUI’s (graphic user interfaces) makes a similar point, and differentiates affordances from conventions, symbols and constraints, all of which are valuable in guiding behaviour (1999: 40). 9 In the strong sense of Gibson’s use of ‘affordances’ of course, there is no such thing as ‘prescribed’ perception; all perception is active. In practice, however, there are choices to be made, choices which under duress might confine perception to prescription and compliance. This was the case for many Germans under Nazism, which was of particular concern to Gibson, who asked why ‘direct’ perception about the evils of the holocaust, free from the hegemony of mass media propaganda was seemingly not possible at the time. 10 There is an extensive discussion of the arguments against ‘cognitivism’ in the affordances debate in the unpublished paper, ‘The Ecological Turn: Affordances for Learning Research’ (Williams, 2009). This is a theoretical and rather subject-specific discussion, but it points out that there is a substantial body of work which still sees perception as almost exclusively cognitive, rather than interactive, for reasons which are highly contested. Gibson’s work can in many ways be seen as a rejection of the binarism and limitations of cognitive psychology on the one hand, and behavioural psychology on the other, as he attempts to account for human action more holistically. 11 There seem to be at least two ways to interpret what Erikson is saying here. On the one hand, he could be referring to the actor who carries out terror against the state, but on the other hand, he could be referring to the state (and particularly the Nazi state) carrying out terror against the various threats to the purity of the core (‘Aryan’) national identity, drawing on religious, mythical and ‘civilian’ narratives (of euthanasia and pseudo-Darwinism – see Bauman, 1989). 12 Etienne Wenger (2009) has developed an excellent framework and practice in which he explores the relationships between identity, community and networks. He sees learning and identity as inseparable, which is one of the threads running through some of the debates on affordances, and which emerged strongly in the Affordances for Learning research (Williams et al., 2009). 13 See Text and Discourse (Williams, 1993) for an introduction to discourse, and the application of discourse theory to media analysis and an analysis of civil, military and totalitarian discourse within Apartheid. 14 The closest heritage for ‘global microstructures’ is probably the ‘Transnational Company’ – a later version of the ‘Multi-national Company’ – but neither of these are ‘light’. 15 Of course the global financial system got far too innovative in the multiplederivatives products that it produced in the ‘noughties’, but that does not mean that the baby should be thrown out with the bathwater. The lesson is perhaps that global, and specifically unstable, systems are more prone to

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‘overshoot’ than any others, and are therefore more in need of truly global regulation. 16 Snowden and Boone (2007) is a very useful account of the issues facing management and leadership in a world where both complex and predictable events have to be managed.

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7 When are terrorists hackers? Technology, affordance and practice Gilbert Ramsay University of St Andrews

T

he object of this chapter is to sketch out a way of thinking about the respective natures of hacking and terrorism. In doing so, the primary aim is to search for a deeper and more satisfactory answer than has hitherto been produced to the question of whether (and under what circumstances) we might see an instance of ‘cyberterrorism’. However, in examining what cyberterrorism, were it to occur, would necessarily mean, the discussion develops further into a consideration of the relationship between terrorism and intrusive and ‘hacker like’ behaviour in a more general sense. It is argued that hacking is defined by the manipulation of objects and technologies in ways which they objectively afford, but which run counter to the social structures which attempt to determine their use. On the other hand, terrorism depends on manipulating social structures through the symbolic use of violence. This being so, terrorism tends to rely on relatively conventional uses of objects in order to produce intelligible social narratives. The chapter then goes on to discuss exceptions to this broad rule. Until recently cyberterrorism was essentially retro sci-fi. The 1990s saw a flurry of speculation (rather than reality) about terrorists who would use computers rather than bombs to wreak devastation on information-age civilization. It was speculated that terrorists, primarily by hacking in some form into computer systems, would be able to cause mid air collisions between

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aircraft (Devost et al., 1996), lethal explosions in gas pipelines (Collin, 1996), even nuclear war (Mitnick, 2003). However, by about the middle of the past decade at least, the tide had definitively turned. Those terrorism specialists who looked seriously into the matter had almost universally concluded that actual, full-blown cyberterrorism of this form was an unlikely scenario. While these scholars did not deny that cyberthreats and cybercrimes exist in one form or another, they argued that hacking would probably not be a weapon of choice for terrorist groups. In summary, the arguments for this position have been more or less as follows: Arguments from definition Researchers such as the computer scientist Dorothy Denning (2001) and the political scientist Michael Stohl (2007) made the point that while politically motivated attacks certainly do take place via computers, most of these are much more closely analogous to forms of direct action and activism in the real world. Given this, denial of service attacks (which flood servers with data to make the sites they host temporarily inaccessible online), and website defacements are better described as ‘hacktivism’ than as terrorism. Indeed, once we except such incidents from the history of politically motivated cyberattacks, very few, if any, really qualify as cyberterrorism. Arguments from misinformation Sober examinations of the gap between the reality of cyberterrorism and the concerns raised about it as a threat led many researchers to conclude that most of the alarm was the result of hype and misinformation. Weimann (2005) pointed out that most serious cybersecurity breaches end up being misreported, leading to significant exaggeration. A good example of this would be the Maroochy Shire sewage incident. Here, a disgruntled insider used radio technology (not the internet) to break into the control system operating a sewage treatment facility in Queensland, Australia. He succeeded in getting the facility to release about a million litres of sewage (roughly the size of a swimming pool) over a 6-month period into a nearby creek (Slay and Miller, 2008). In what might be seen as a game of Chinese whispers involving a simple misreading of metric measurements, this story ended up in a congressional report claiming that millions of gallons of sewage (at least a tenfold increase) had polluted a whole coastline. Arguments from technical impossibility Some researchers questioned to what extent the kinds of nightmare scenario associated with cyberterrorism were even possible. For example, Weimann (2005) observed that most of the computers which control really critical infrastructure are not even connected to the internet. In other scenarios (e.g. changing factory settings in order to poison breakfast cereal), human oversight makes it highly unlikely that a process would succeed in having the sort of overwhelming effect anticipated.

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Arguments from the nature of terrorists and terrorism Another line of argument advanced by many critics of the cyberterrorism thesis argued that cyberattacks would not be an attractive prospect for terrorists. Some (e.g. Conway, 2003) have proposed that terrorist groups do not presently possess the necessary skills, and would not wish to risk compromising themselves by hiring outside help. Others suggested that, even if capable of carrying out cyberattacks, these would not be attractive. Terrorists, they pointed out, tend to be conservative in their actions. And cyberattacks, in particular, would be difficult, expensive and unreliable in their outcomes. They would lack the obvious psychological impact of ‘breaking things and killing people’ (Giacomello, 2004). Moreover, certain types of terrorist – some suggested – were psychologically or even religiously fixated on the idea of spilling blood, not of causing more abstract kinds of damage (Raufer, 2003). How good are these arguments? And how well do they stand up to dramatic recent events, such as the use of a computer virus (Stuxnet), apparently to destroy physical infrastructure in Iran’s nuclear enrichment programme? (We shall return to this specific incident shortly). The most obvious problem with these arguments is their contingency. It may very well be true that cybersecurity incidents (as, arguably, with all crimes) do tend to be sensationalized. It may also be fair to say that no act of cyberterrorism, strictly defined, has ever really taken place. But how can this prove that none ever will? Moreover, computer security incidents have empirically impacted on power plants, banking and even, on one occasion, a satellite (albeit not in anything like the catastrophic way envisaged in cyberterrorism scenarios). Thus, even if the particular scenarios proposed by futurologists of cyberterrorism are unlikely, this does not rule out other possible calamities. Similarly, while it may be true that terrorists of the present day lack the inclination or the capability to carry out acts of cyberterrorism, it would seem to be very complacent to suggest that this will always be the case. And yet, concealed within what looks at face value like the flimsiest objection to cyberterrorism lies what is, in fact, the most profound and enduring reason for believing that there are important obstacles in the way of a genuine occurrence of cyberterrorism. This is the definitional issue: what would have to happen for a computer security incident to be classified as terrorism? At first glance, the definitional matter looks hair splitting: can terrorism simply be defined out of existence? But the answer to this question is (with important reservations) ‘yes’. It is not all that uncommon, for example, for gunmen to shoot large numbers of civilians dead in public places. And in

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a good number of these cases, the gunmen in question provide reasons for doing what they did that look broadly ideological.1 But we take these actions seriously as terrorism in only some of such cases. As long as we feel comfortable that the incident in question is genuinely the work of an isolated individual, with an essentially idiosyncratic set of beliefs and motivations, the label ‘terrorism’ tends not to stick. On the other hand, if we think that we can contextualize a violent action as somehow emerging from a larger collective actor – whether that actor is an organized underground group or simply a widespread set of political beliefs – then the label ‘terrorism’ becomes applicable. There is another condition which we happen, by convention, to apply to most acts of terrorism; this is that they set out to kill people, or at the very least to physically destroy things in a spectacular (usually explosive) way. It is true that the acts of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), which consist mainly of things like tree spiking and arson, have been labelled, by some, as ‘ecoterrorism’. But this is the exception that proves the rule, for arson and tree-spiking are actions which carry with them at least some cost to human life, and which (in the case of the former), destroy property in a direct and seemingly quite aggressive way. Moreover, the ‘terrorist’ label for the ELF is rather marginal. The ELF lie at the most confrontational end of a spectrum of environmental direct action which, in other cases, is never labelled as terrorism, even though the actual financial loss it leads to is probably just as great if not greater. For example, Plane Stupid, a climate change activist group in the UK specializes in invading runways and thereby shutting down airports. Presumably, the financial loss caused by even a small airport being shut down for a few hours is comparable to the torching of a house. But the point is that the loss is largely indirect, intangible and invisible. What is at stake is not the dollar value of the action (and of course Plane Stupid would presumably counter, by an extension of the same chain of reasoning, that in the even longer run the climate change they are trying to act against will cost an awful lot more than the immediate economic loss to the airport). Rather, it is precisely the issue of physical intimidation that matters here. Breaking things and killing people is not just a desirable option for terrorists. It is what terrorism is. People who don’t do it don’t usually get thought of as terrorists. And since they don’t, they don’t pose the same social problem that terrorism poses, ipso facto. Cyberterrorism as a potential reality is therefore caught between these two requirements. Supposing a malicious hacker (perhaps an insider) were indeed to cause a mid-air collision, we would normally interpret this action as idiosyncratic, unless there were exceptionally strong reasons to think otherwise. Once interpreted as idiosyncratic, the action would probably tend to be classified

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alongside those various aviation disasters which have killed hundreds as the result of bad luck, negligence, or unexplained erratic behaviour.2 Supposing, on the other hand, a politically motivated group were to use the internet to, for example, shut down the servers hosting the electronic banking services and governmental websites of an East European country? This is not a fictional scenario, having actually happened in Estonia in 2007 (Davis, 2007). And indeed, in this case officials of that country did use the term ‘cyberterrorism’. By and large, however, it is not a designation that stuck, for the simple reason that while a good number of Estonians were inconvenienced (Estonians abroad became unable to access bank accounts or read online Estonian newspapers), the attack does not seem to have terrorized, in the sense of generating fear, the Estonian population as such. In order to imagine an unambiguous example of an attack which we would call cyberterrorism, we must suppose an attack which is on the one hand clearly the product of a political actor of some kind and, on the other, which kills people in a fairly direct way, or at least causes some kind of physical destruction. It can be supposed that an attack which affected only intangible infrastructure but which was overwhelmingly devastating, to the extent of causing widespread fear rather than merely mass inconvenience, might qualify as well, but since it is difficult to speculate at what threshold this would turn out to be the case, we can, for the time being, exclude this possibility. It is of course, worth pointing out at this juncture (and it actually reinforces the argument) that terrorist attacks often do, in fact, manage to achieve mass disruption and loss to intangible assets (e.g. declines in stock prices), but they do this through the social effects of physical attacks. This, in fact, anticipates the crux of the argument of this chapter, and therefore need not be commentated on further at present. To continue, however, with the present point, the inter-subjective need for terrorism, cyber or otherwise, to achieve physical destruction carries with it a certain implication. This is that any cyberattack worthy of being called cyberterrorism would presumably have to consist of a carefully targeted intrusion deep into a protected computer system controlling something important. In and of itself (although either of these might form part of a more extensive ‘chained exploit’ contributing to the ultimate outcome of the attack), the attack would consist neither of a large denial of service attack nor in itself of the release of a computer virus or worm.3 In other words, the attack would have to consist of a custom made set of computer hacking exploits, rather than the deployment of an ‘off the shelf’ cyber ‘weapon’. It would need to be complex, intrusive and specific. It would, in other words, have to be the work of a genuine hacker.

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The significance of this observation is that it moves us from enquiring into what it is that essentially defines terrorism, in general, as an activity, to asking what it is that essentially and necessarily defines hacking. In common usage, the word hacker simply signifies a cybercriminal. The hacker is the person who breaks into your email account and spams everyone you know. The hacker is the person who compromises your credit card and blows hundreds of pounds on an online gambling site. In fiction (though mostly not in real life), the hacker is the person whose near magical power over computers makes him (usually him, sometimes her) able to stop trains, crash planes, shut down the power grid, etc. It is not much consolation to the victim of the first two (plausible, real life) crimes to explain that the ‘hacker’ in this case was probably not a hacker at all. One might dignify him with the notoriety of being called a ‘cracker’. Or one might simply call him a criminal. After all, it is unlikely that the person in question was doing anything particularly clever or original. They were probably just reusing a well-worn exploit developed by someone else against a target that just happened to be vulnerable to this sort of attack. You may have been mugged (virtually speaking) but the chances are that you weren’t mugged with any style. From the hacker point of view, however, hacking is basically synonymous with ingenuity, and with a certain way of living based on ingenious creativity for its own sake, the personal agency ingenious creativity affords and a sense of personal and social responsibility which such agency requires. The philosopher and technology writer Pekka Himanen sums up the ‘hacker ethic’ with reference to three key areas: a hacker work ethic is premised on refusing the distinction between work and play, a hacker money ethic is premised on rejecting money as a motive for work, but accepting it as a potentially useful means to a greater end and, finally, a social ethic or ‘nethic’ is based on openness and personal social responsibility (Himanen, 2001). Other hackers – or self-styled hackers, at any rate – have defined hacking less in terms of utopian ideals, and more in terms of its fundamental concerns: ingenuity and hunger for information. As Jon Erickson, author of a popular guide to hacking puts it: . . .there are those who use hacker techniques to break the law, but hacking isn’t really about that. In fact, hacking is more about following the law than breaking it. The essence of hacking is finding unintended or overlooked uses for the laws and properties of a given situation and then applying them in new and inventive ways to solve a problem – whatever it may be (Erickson, 2008).

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Another self-described hacker, ‘Dr K’, conceives of hacking in the following way: All hackers begin with a problem. When a hacker finds an unknown system, whether a computer operating system, a phone network 802.11b wireless communications, smart cards or a combination of all those things that go to make up the Internet, the desire to learn and explore is overwhelming. Initially, the unknown system is a ‘black box’ system. The hacker knows nothing about the rules that govern the system, except that it will be governed by rules of one kind or another. Often, but not always, the rules that govern the system are a computer program. Because the system is rule based and not random it doesn’t matter what kind of problem the black box system presents. When a hacker approaches a black box system, the goal is to understand it using exploration and learning and, no matter what the system is, there is a standard set of procedures which anyone who wishes to be a hacker can learn and apply. For me, this is one of the things which define a hacker. This might appear counter-intuitive, because on the surface it would appear that the one thing which defines hackers is their use of technology. But on closer examination, you will find that no single technology defines a hacker; even a computer. This is because hackers use multiple technologies (Dr K, 2004). Where the Himanen’s ideas, and those cited above seem to meet is in the notion of some sort of intersection between ethics and practice. Although Himanen never once mentions his name, perhaps the best account of this idea is to be found in the work of Alasdair Macintyre. For Macintyre (2007), certain spheres of human activity can be described as ‘practices’ – medicine would be one such, for example, or building. The point about a practice is that, while it may (though it need not) serve to produce certain sorts of external good, anyone who is a genuine practitioner must, by that very fact, also have an appreciation of a set of goods internal to that practice. The example which Macintyre offers in his classic statement of the subject – After Virtue is of a small but intelligent child whom one wishes to introduce to the practice of chess. When, in the example, the child is first introduced to playing chess, she has no interest in chess for its own sake. She is bribed into playing as well as she can with the promise of being rewarded with sweets if she wins. Over time, however, she comes to appreciate the goods internal to being a chess player. The crucial difference between these internal goods and these external goods is that the internal

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goods can be acquired only within the rules of the practice itself. The child can win the sweets by cheating at the game. But she can win the satisfaction of a really well played opening gambit only by actually playing honestly and to the best of her ability.4 What the thesis holds is that there are certain capabilities which carry a kind of intrinsic moral content. To develop as an excellent chess player, it will be necessary (Macintyre seems to think) that at some point I ought to care about good chess playing as an end in itself. One can quite easily quibble with this assertion. For example, one might imagine some kind of feckless but prodigious genius who wins chess matches effortlessly but does so purely for venal motives, taking neither pleasure nor interest in so doing and cheating when he can. But by and large we can probably concede that on the whole Macintyre is broadly correct. Now, the significance of Macintyre’s thesis about practices, as implicitly applied by Himanen to the case of hacking would seem to be something like this. Let us suppose that there is a criminal who wishes to enrich himself by means of computer hacking, and therefore sets out to learn the skill. Reading Himanen through a Macintyrean lens, what we ought to expect is that that criminal will never succeed in becoming a true hacker, not just in the tautologous sense (by definition no true hacker would do it purely for money, therefore this cannot be a ‘true hacker’), but in the full sense. That is to say that while our criminal might learn how to programme computers, to use pre-written scripts and exploits in order to steal valuable information from poorly protected systems and so on, it is unlikely that she will reach the point of being able to develop genuinely original and sophisticated exploits. This is because developing original exploits is time consuming, difficult and (from a financial point of view) mostly unrewarding. It is a rational use of one’s time only if one is motivated by the rewards of the practice itself. This is not to say that a ‘true’ hacker, motivated purely by the challenge itself, may not hit on something of commercial or criminal value (and will not sell, or even personally profit from his capability if he does so). But in order to reach this point, it is necessary that the hacker have started out with ‘pure’ intentions, since it is an end point that cannot be predicted or envisaged at the outset of the path. What are the goods internal to hacking? For Tim Jordan (2008), a crucial point about hacking is its relationship to technological determinism. Hackers – as Erickson observes in the above quotation – find themselves, as do we all, facing processes and objects which are finite and rule governed. This means that they are – so it seems – provided with only a finite and predictable set of possible outcomes. Hacking in this analysis is then the science and art of mental ju-jitsu. One opens out new possibilities not by breaking the

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rules (which, particularly if they are physical rather than social rules, are probably unbreakable), but rather by using them against themselves. The hacker innovates by seizing possibilities latent in situations set up to achieve certain outcomes. The sword is for cutting and must therefore be sharp. But this means that it cannot but also function (with a little modification) as a pretty good ploughshare as well. Instead of seeing a ‘sword’ (that is to say, a socially determined artefact) he sees a ‘cutter ’ (the physical object viewed in terms of its objective affordances). An interesting point here is an implicit tension between Gibson’s original view of affordances, and Norman’s application of the concept to industrial design. For Gibson (1979), the crucial point is simply that humans directly perceive the possible uses of things; they perceive the chair as sittable-on but equally as standable-on, usable as a barricade or, (depending on the size of the human in question relative to the chair in question) throwable. For Norman (1988), the point is to design objects such as to eliminate or obscure affordances of objects other than those ends determined for them by the designer, while making the latter as perceptible as possible. For hackers, the Normanian interpretation is necessarily problematic, since the whole idea is to find new ends for which the structure of an object of a system must necessarily provide the means. This explains why, for example, early hackers found the introduction of Apple’s first Graphical User Interface so problematic: by making a certain set of uses apparent and concealing or obstructing others, Apple corporation seemed to be exerting a determining power which hackers claimed for the individual. But an engagement with the pragmatic focus offered by Norman is nonetheless interesting here for the insight it offers into the extent to which affordances might be thought of, in spite of Gibson’s insistence, as relative, subjective and to some extent socially determined. The bottleneck always affords the insertion of a finger. But when it has once been used as a guitar slide, it becomes a new artefact altogether. Simply by being perceived differently, it has almost literally been made into something else.5 Hacking is, therefore, about making by seeing. A hacker is rewarded, in a sense, materially, since creative reinterpretation of what is afforded by the world necessarily entails the bringing into being of new things, which the hacker can then possess. To this extent, hacking is about a certain sort of ownership – indeed, it is probably no accident that the successful malicious computer cracker proclaims his success against a victim by saying that he has ‘owned’ (or ‘pwned’) him. In a metaphorical sense, terrorism, as an activity in its most general sense, bears some resemblance to hacking. Just as hacking is premised on the artful reconfiguration of technological artefacts which appear to determine

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the user, so too is terrorism premised on the myth – incidentally, a major staple of Hollywood films – that entire political systems can be redetermined by the courageous, violent action of a small, committed group, or even of a single person.6 Indeed, as it happens, the ju-jitsu metaphor used above is one which has also often been used in connection with strategies of terrorism (McCauley: n.d). Indeed, the implicit virtuality of terrorism is what marks it out as fundamentally a project of the modern imagination: a fact which is, paradoxically, borne witness to by the historiography of the phenomenon. It has become almost a cliché for general introductions to terrorism to provide a potted history of the phenomenon which acknowledges its ultimate origins in the ancient terror of the Judaean Zealots and the Isma’ilite Assassin sect before skipping six centuries to arrive at the anarchists of late nineteenth-century Russia (with a possible excursion to take in the Jacobin reign of terror on the way). The purpose of this account is usually to demonstrate that terrorism is, strictly speaking, a truly ancient phenomenon, almost as old as human civilization, but that for present purposes it can usefully be thought of as something modern. The conclusion that is almost never drawn, however, is how extraordinarily episodic the phenomenon of terrorism, as presented in these historical accounts, actually is. Why should terrorism appear in the firstcentury A.D., disappear for a thousand years before reappearing in roughly the same part of the world and then disappear again (to all intents and purposes), before suddenly cropping up in – mark – its new and quintessentially modern incarnation in, of all places, Tsarist Russia? The vast lacunae in the history of terrorism become all the more remarkable when one considers that historical periods which, ostensibly, would seem to be perfect crucibles for terrorism, appear to be very nearly clear of the phenomenon. Early Modern Europe, in particular, was a period marked by the dramatic and transformative emergence of a new mass medium – the printed broadsheet. It was a time of intense ideological/religious strife and intercommunal violence. Radical and reactionary sects were forming left, right and centre. In 1534, for example, the town of Münster was taken over by extreme, millenarian Anabaptists, who violently resisted armed attempts by authorities to recapture the town. And yet, with the rather remarkable exception of the plot by English Catholics to kill King James I and restore Catholic rule, there are very few acts of the period which seem obviously to us to present as examples of terrorism in the typical sense. What this tells us, one may suggest, is not something objectively true about the ‘history of terrorism’, but rather something very important about the collective myths on the basis of which it is possible for us to perceive an act as amounting to terrorism.7

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For a clue as to what has happened, it is useful to go back to the prototype for most of the potted histories of terrorism discussed above – David Rapoport’s (1984) ‘Fear and Trembling: Terrorism in Three Religious Traditions’. In this seminal discussion, Rapoport works his way back through three examples (which have become the canonical ones) of ‘terrorism’ – the Thugs in India, who persisted until the nineteenth century, the Assassins of the twelfth and thirteenth and the Zealots of the first. He observes, paradoxically, that despite their progressive distance from the modern age in terms of time, the resemblance of each form of religious violence to terrorism as commonly discussed increases the further back we go. One reason he gives for this is the difference between Hinduism, which he sees as a religion of stasis, and Islam and Judaism, which he presents as religions which tend to be more concerned with revolutionary change in the sublunary world. In particular, he presents the Zealots, with their political aim of provoking mass insurrection and their tactics of broad daylight assassination and hostage-taking as representing something particularly close to terrorism as we presently understand it. It is interesting to observe that it is in Judaea that we find the model for contemporary terrorism, given that it is also the biblical account of the Judaean polity that, in important ways, provided the intellectual foundation for the gradual ‘imagining’ of the European nation state from medieval times onwards. Indeed, it is tempting to suggest the hypothesis that Rapoport’s account, notwithstanding his purpose, which is to historicise the concept of terrorism, may perhaps be informed in the interpretative light it brings to the subject by a certain tendency to read into the period the ideological and nationalist concerns which have been construed from it by European thought for so long. Be that as it may, the fundamental point remains. The Zealots, in Rapoport’s account, appear to be motivated by the idea that one can (as Rapoport puts it earlier in the paper) use limited violence to ‘attack institutions’. Unlike the Thugs, who are presented as killing simply to fulfil a personal, ritual obligation to do so, and the Assassins, whose killing was a tool of foreign policy advanced by an ultimately expansionist state with a territorial base, the Zealots appear to have been motivated by the notion that they were fighting not simply against men, but against some imagined, ideological system which, because its essentially ideal rather than material nature, could somehow, through a certain set of actions, be reprogrammed and replaced with a system of a different (and in the Zealots’ opinion, divinely ordained) kind. This interpretation of the Zealots (and in the end it doesn’t much matter whether it is a wholly accurate interpretation or not) would explain why we tend not to see the violent, even sectarian actions of early modern and medieval Europeans as terrorism. Our conception of the political structure

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of those times tends to view it (and Machiavelli, at any rate, concurred in his discussion of the relative structures of France and the Ottoman Empire) as at once personal and decentralized. Killing the king in a polity of this sort did not mean making an indirect attempt to kill the abstraction which the king stood for. On the other hand if, like, say, the Cathars in the South of France, one happened to have an abstract system with political implications strikingly divergent to those of the prevailing secular power, the most obvious way of dealing with it was simply to try to live by the new principles one’s community had come to accept, not to strike at authority in the hope of bringing the system crashing down. Terrorism, thus conceived, is in a sense already, metaphorically speaking at any rate, a form of hacking. It is premised on the idea that social systems, like information systems, operate by rules which necessarily produce exploitable side implications. And yet herein may lie, paradoxically, the reason why terrorism by hacking is so difficult to envisage. For hacking and terrorism, looked at in a certain light, are actually precisely opposite processes. Hacking is the process of coming to see through the social forces that bind particular technological artefacts to particular uses, and in this way reaching the point of being able to act freely in the world. Terrorism, on the other hand, begins with the act in the world, and tries to use this to make people see through the social forces that bind society as a whole. There is, then, something inherently ungainly about the combination of terrorism and hacking. The poetry of hacking lies in its movement from the virtual to the actual. The rhetoric of terrorism lies in its movement from the shockingly actual to the virtual. Shackled together, the risk is that each complicates and therefore diminishes the effect of the other. The point is that terrorism begins precisely where the narrative of hacking ends. Whereas the challenge in hacking is to make technology do something, anything other than that which it is ‘supposed’ to do, as an assertion of the hacker’s personal freedom within society, the point about terrorism is to show that that very society which seems so all powerful is itself nothing more than a ‘consensual hallucination’. And yet, what really distinguishes terrorism (of the sub-state sort with which we are concerned at any rate) is not just that it views existing social structures as Wizard-of-Oz type illusions which can be destroyed if only public belief in them can be challenged. This is, after all, the basic belief of all radical activists, whether they use passive resistance, peaceful direct action, situationist ‘happenings’ or whatever. Nor is terrorism even distinguished by the particular aspect of social structure which it sets out to contest – that is, the state’s monopoly on violence which, after all, may also be challenged both by mass non-violent action (challenging the state to make good the implicit promise of unlimited violence in defence

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of its laws and conventions), or by forms of violent activity which would not normally be thought of specifically as terrorism. The point about terrorism is specifically the way in which it acts not just to subvert the illusory stability of the social order, but to actually create a counter-illusion of its own. That is, just as state power falsely implies that it can – if ultimately called to – forcibly limit the behaviour of everyone in it, simply by forcibly limiting behaviour in a sufficient number of those cases where particular individuals within it violate its laws and norms, so too does terrorism build an illusion on this illusion, using the shorthand of a few acts of outstanding violence to create a pseudo-leviathan of its own. This analysis of terrorism – like the analysis of hacking above – can also be expressed in terms of affordance, provided we view affordance in the broader sense preferred by some of the contributors to this volume (Jason Roach, Ken Pease), as relating not just to action possibilities in objects, but rather to perceived opportunities in general. For, understood thus, what terrorism is basically trying to achieve is to reconfigure the perceptions of people in a wider public about the sorts of opportunities and constraints on their lives. Indeed, this way of formulating things is fruitful, because it further highlights the way in which both hacking and terrorism represent different and opposite sides of the same coin. Hacking, being about finding genuinely new ways of overcoming apparently physical constraints is liberating in the most literal sense of the term. Terrorism, on the other hand, seems to be about that bizarre but compelling paradox: the liberty of the brotherhood, the cell, the order, the crowd; the liberty to freely subsume one’s personal agency in the collective production of new, seemingly natural constraints. The more practical problem with this, from the standpoint of hacking as a potential terrorist weapon is that terrorism must necessarily tend towards rather repetitive forms of violence, whereas any true hack has to be strictly unique. Nor is this merely a definitional consideration. Any hack which is likely to have a significant impact of a piece of critical infrastructure is necessarily likely to rely on a trick that will work only once, as the open doors such a trick would have to exploit are likely to be closed afterwards (or, at least, the would-be intruder cannot simply rely on the same doors remaining open). To the hacker as hacker this does not matter, since it is the process of finding the exploit in which hacking exults. But to the terrorist it is a serious problem, since the larger illusion produced by the terrorist campaign depends on being able to create the impression (however inaccurately) that the terrorists can strike at will. This, incidentally, helps to show us not only why terrorists have typically used rather conservative and repetitive means, but also why the nature of terrorist attacks often seems to be so much less ingenious and indeed less

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mischievous than the sorts of activity carried out by the most ambitious practitioners of political direct action.8 The person who, for example, climbed into a coal fired power plant and switched off a turbine (Daily Mail, 2008), or the two peace campaigners who, according to Monbiot (2001) coolly walked into an air force base and smashed up a pair of Hawk jets (due for export to Indonesia), showed a capacity to intrude into sensitive areas of major technological complexes in ways that terrorists relatively rarely are. The ability of activists to be routinely intrusive is partly explained by the fact that they take far fewer risks in what they do than a terrorist armed with a bomb or a gun. But this cannot be the whole explanation. For if terrorists were so averse to risk, they would not try so hard to sneak bombs onto aircraft, for example. Moreover, one can surely envisage a scenario in which an unarmed terrorist, with sufficient ingenuity, could manage to place himself in a position of sufficient control over some item of industrial infrastructure to be able to affect enormous damage. Indeed, we do not have to try very hard to imagine such as scenario, for it is to all intents and purposes what happened on September 11th, 2001. But the point of the action in the case of those peaceful activists just described is precisely that it is peaceful. It does not set out to confront society with the menacing shadow of a counter-power. Rather, it dares society to bring down the full weight of the letter of its laws on people who, while undoubtedly law breakers, appear by society’s own standards to be worthy, earnest, courageous and trying to act in the interests of something widely perceived (including by those in authority) to be a greater good. The attack, then, is fundamentally presented as being internal. By contrast, in the case of ‘insurgent’ terrorism (though there might be forms of vigilante terrorism of which this would be less clearly the case), the attack must necessarily represent itself as proceeding from a total rupture with the society in which it takes place. This notion of total rupture – of the terrorist proceeding not from within society itself, but fighting as the virtual soldier of an imaginary state – means that there is a sort of inherent contradiction with carrying out the kind of attack which involves the gradual integration of the attacker with the system control of a part of which will then be used to attack the rest of it. This is not to say that the process of radicalization and preparation may not take place under the discursive cover of being an undercover operative deep in enemy territory. But it is this which all the more so requires that at the moment of the attack, the attacker is clearly and unmistakably distinguished from that which she is attacking. While the mythical notion of the hacker as someone sitting at a keyboard anywhere in the world and somehow causing physical mayhem to ensue at the touch of a button might not violate this principle, the

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sorts of confidence trick type behaviour that would likely be required in order genuinely to reach the point of being able, for example, to maliciously open the flood gates on a dam very likely would. And yet there are exceptions to this statement coming both from the ‘terrorism’ and the ‘computer hacking’ ends of the problem. First, 9/11 – as has just been pointed out – is precisely an example of an elaborate plot by terrorists which involved cleverly subverting a control system after a period of integration into another society. On the other hand, the recent assault on Iranian nuclear centrifuges by the all but certainly Israel-created Stuxnet virus would seem to represent something much closer than has hitherto occurred to precisely the sort of action at a distance view of hacking promoted by popular culture (Stark, 2011). Do not these examples seriously challenge the assumptions set out above? In the case of the Stuxnet virus, the answer would seem to be, if anything, that this case shows just how far we are from the point at which a sub state group will be either able to use an attack of this kind or (more germane to the argument thus far) will be able to use an attack of this kind to cause anything which would be likely to obviously invite the label of terrorism. Stuxnet was indeed an elegant example of the hacker’s (and not just the cyber ‘warrior’s) art. It was a highly specialized virus, fine-tuned exactly to the kind of software it would be targeting, and making use of perhaps as many as four zero day (i.e. original) exploits in Microsoft Windows XP. It contained ingenious features aimed at enabling it to avoid detection. By the anti-virus company Symantec’s estimation, the development of this extraordinary piece of software would have required at the very least 6 months of full time development by a team of 5–10 specialists (Falliere et al., 2011). Even so, damage caused by the virus may have been limited (Albright et al., 2011), and indeed even if the virus had succeeded in doing what it was meant to do (that was, mysteriously causing uranium enrichment centrifuges to break down without being detected as the reason for this happening), even this would have been very far from anything one might readily refer to as ‘terrorism’. Sabotage, certainly, but not terrorism. The 9/11 case, however, raises a potentially more interesting question: under what circumstances do violent political groups start to deploy subversive ingenuity? This is a question which speaks in some ways to the existing literature on terrorist innovation, except that much of this really only addresses terrorist groups’ home-grown attempts essentially to replicate the conventional determinations of military technology. We may well be impressed by the way in which the IRA developed generation after generation of more sophisticated mortars, or by Hezbollah’s race against the IDF to come up with remote detonation for IEDs not subject to scrambling by

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the other side (Cragin et al., 2007). But what we are looking for here is something slightly different from this. The question is rather, when do terrorists carry out attacks based extensively on the creative redetermining of physical objects? When, and under what circumstances, do terrorists hack? A full answer to this question would require an empirical study which it is beyond the scope of this chapter to provide. But a triangulation between the two events just discussed and the problem at hand can, perhaps, provide us with some promising hypotheses. In turning to the case of Stuxnet, two points stand out particularly. First – rather paradoxically – being able to cultivate individual level hacker practices and direct them towards institutional strategic level goals would seem to require relatively large, structured enterprises. At one level this is simply because cyber war projects are risky investments requiring inputs of highly skilled personnel and potentially of expensive equipment directed towards a potentially high yield but uncertain outcome. This is essentially the same point made by Giampiero Giacomello in his previously mentioned ‘cost benefit analysis’ of cyberterrorism. But latent in this analysis is the real cost that an institution is taking on in employing hackers (of any kind) to do something genuinely original: the cost of giving those people sufficient freedom to play around, to try things out just because they are interesting, where ‘interesting’ is defined as implying the innovative exploitation of latent possibilities afforded by objects in the world. Secondly, the project aimed to cause a certain sort of damage irrespective of wider considerations about how that damage would be perceived. This, too implied an institution capable of envisaging its goals in strictly material and narrowly instrumental terms. In the case of the looser, more informally constituted and less wellresourced actor, an important constraint lies in the kind of reward structure which that actor must depend on. Being unable to offset time invested to a project with the reward of external goods, it must rely primarily on members rewarding themselves with the goods internal to the practices in which they are engaged. Hackers, for example, will famously hack simply for the sake of hacking. But this means that unrewarding types of computer programming or intrusion will tend to remain undone. Linus Torvalds, in developing his phenomenally successful open source operating system, Linux, still struggled to find people willing to give free time to projects seen as boring, such as the development of open source spreadsheet software. In calling for ‘open source jihad’, it can be expected that, for example, radical Islamist networks must face a similar predicament: the types of terrorism undertaken will conform more and more exactly to the internal goods which

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engagement in jihadist radicalization has to offer, and less and less exactly to whatever strategic goals the movement’s leaders might, ideally, wish to see accomplished. Therefore, insofar as the internal goods intrinsic to terrorism as practice differ from the internal goods intrinsic to hacking as practice, we can expect that hacking, even in the broad sense, as terrorism will remain fairly unlikely. What is striking about Al Qa’ida as it developed over the 1990s is, arguably, the way in which it followed a model particularly conducive to the development not just of acts of terrorism, but also of innovative practices of the sorts which might, in the sense set out above, be described as having something in common with hacking. Importantly, there was both a fairly free and open environment for proposing ideas for attacks and – once an idea was accepted – quite significant resources available for developing the approach. For the specific case of 9/11, for example, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed seems to have pitched a rough draft of the idea to Osama bin Laden in 1998, initiating a gradual process of development which really gained momentum in the year preceding the attacks (9/11 Commission, 2004). And yet even while the 9/11 hijackings carry with them some of the intrusive ingenuity of the radical activist, and the idea of cleverly gaining unauthorized access to a control system (the literal meaning of ‘cyber’) which is implied in the notion of the cyberattack, it is also important to remember that they also fulfilled other distinctively terrorist requirements. As acts of hijacking, they conformed to an easily recognizable script which made it quite clear within a relatively short space of time that they were attacks on America, by some distinct actor, rather than acts of idiosyncratic madness, or horrible accidents. Moreover, as suicide attacks, they ensured that any ambiguity produced by the double lives of the attackers was erased. In destroying themselves, the attackers moved irrevocably from one world to the next not just in the religious sense, but also in the collective social imagination. And this, so I insist, is the essential requirement of terrorism. To conclude, then, this chapter has been, unapologetically, an exploratory piece. The hypotheses it sets out may, however, be testable and, if accurate, potentially offer a useful way not only of analysing the risks that a given actor may attempt to carry out acts of terrorism by means of computer hacking, but also for determining the sorts of terrorist behaviour that may be expected from certain sorts of actor more generally. By focusing on the three elements that have formed the intellectual themes of the piece: that is, the notion of individual practices and internal goods as motivations for action, the ways in which terrorism as a concept intersects with the imaginary nature of the large scale political community – a structure which in itself may be seen as affording certain possibilities to actors, and, finally the use of either socially determined

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or socially undetermined affordances in objects as mediating between these two levels, it is suggested that we may arrive at an interesting and hopefully fruitful programme for future research.

Notes 1 An obvious example would be the Jokela High School massacre, whose perpetrator, Pekka Eric Auvinen, who, on his YouTube account, said of himself: ‘I am prepared to fight and die for my cause. I, as a natural selector, will eliminate all who I see unfit disgraces to humanity and failures of natural selection. . . you might ask yourself why did I do this and what do I want. . . when the rule of idiocracy and the democratic system has been replaced with justice. . . when intelligent people are finally free and rule the society instead of the idiotic rule of the majority. . . in that great day of deliverance, you will know what I want. . . long live the revolution’. (Jokela School Shooting Archive: n.d). This account, though idiosyncratic, seems no less coherent than that of many acknowledged terrorists. 2 For example, on 19th August 1980, 301 people died of asphyxiation on board a Saudi Arabian Airlines Lockheed L -1011 Tristar. The plane caught fire and returned to make an emergency landing, but for unknown reasons the pilot did not evacuate the aircraft, instead taxiing to the end of the runway. See www.airdisaster.com, accident disaster synopsis 8191980. 3 The Stuxnet attack was, of course, caused by a virus, but this was a custom designed virus aimed at a particular offline infrastructure. We can therefore think of this incident as a chained exploit involving a sophisticated piece of malware rather than the simple release of a malicious virus on the internet as an attack in and of itself. 4 It is worth pointing out here that Macintyre’s conception of practice is distinct from (though it overlaps in interesting ways with) the notion of the ‘community of practice’ as discussed by Etienne Wenger and others. The crucial difference for this analysis is that, for Macintyre, the true practice is something which is conducted for the sake of the goods internal to that practice. People engaged in an activity purely or even primarily for the sake of external rewards are not, in Macintyre’s sense, engaged in a practice. For Wenger, whose concerns are somewhat different, this is not necessarily the case. For a discussion of the differences between the two approaches, see McLaughlin, 2003. 5 Or, to put things possibly in more Gibsonian terms, the perception of the bottleneck as guitar slide is simply to perceive a different thing from what it is to simply perceive a broken glass cylinder no longer fit for containing liquid. To think otherwise is to impose on the world a distinction quite meaningless to the way it is actually inhabited by conscious beings. Seeing, even in the ordinary way, is doing. So new ways of seeing are, inevitably, also new ways of doing. 6 The idea of terrorism as ‘ju jitsu’ is of course premised on the notion that the excessive responses it often produces from the powerful actors it attacks end up being a way of using their own strength against them. But

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while there is no doubt that terrorists have deliberately used attacks in the hope of prompting an overreaction that will galvanize a larger reaction (Carlos Marighella observes as much in his (1969) Minimanual of the Urban Guerrilla while, according to Hegghammer (2010: 339–52), Al Qa’ida were quite prepared for the US to invade Afghanistan after 9/11), it is inadequate simply to see terrorism as a purely rational form of strategic action. First, the reality is that terrorists seldom achieve their goals – and indeed that they often perform their most violent and brutal acts when they are least likely to achieve them. Secondly, even if terrorism is an effective way for a small number of people to achieve their purposes against a large and powerful social entity by prompting an overreaction, this still begs the question as to why large, powerful social entities so regularly feel obliged to overreact thus? Plainly, even if terrorism is strategically rational, it is a strategically rational way of exploiting a fundamentally irrational set of social facts. As a final note here, it is worth pointing out that Hegghammer also observes that Al Qa’ida, while ready for an American invasion, were totally taken aback by its tactical nature, having expected a heavier, more Soviet-like operation which they themselves could survive and repel by guerrilla means. The subsequent quagmire the US fell into was the result of its own blunders, not of Al Qa’ida’s strategic vision. 7 This is not, of course, to suggest that terrorism is simply in the eye of the beholder and would vanish into the distance if only we were all to click our heels and collectively say ‘there’s no place like home’. Social phenomena are, of course, real for those living them – and this includes the terrorists themselves, who read this reality as best they can and target accordingly. The point is rather that if we are to say of terrorism that it is like pornography, and that we know it when we see it, then the question is really not ‘what is terrorism’, but rather, ‘what are the various unseen ideological and material processes which, at this particular moment in time, have conspired to equip us to make this intuitive call?’ 8 Indeed, if we turn our focus towards situations in which terrorists have been really ingenious, even intrusive, the point is actually strengthened rather than diminished. In operations such as Shamil Basayev’s extraordinarily daring Budyonnovsk Hospital raid, the IRA’s Brighton Bombings or the PFLP’s Dawson’s field hijackings, if we strip them down to their absolute essentials, we find the same thing: the terrorist first acquires possession of explosives in some form (whether as such, or within a firearm). The terrorist then generally (although this is less universally true) directs this densely packed energy source against a soft target. This soft target, moreover, is with very few exceptions (one might mention the IRA’s mortar attacks on Downing Street here), located in a public place which, under normal circumstances, would be fairly accessible – even when the target itself is a highly protected person. What terrorists very seldom do is to either enter deep into locations which one might expected in the ordinary way to be highly secure, or to cause direct devastation by means other than the power of weapons which they possess themselves. Their ingenuity, rather than being central to the attack (as an alternative to the possession of physical force) is auxiliary to the attack – it is about overcoming obstacles to the deployment (or threatened deployment) of killing power.

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8 Affordance, terrorism and the overestimation of offence homogeneity Jason Roach University of Huddersfield

Introduction Indeed, a cat doesn’t simply assess a mouse, it assesses it as a prospective meal. But the cat doesn’t assess all animals as prospective meals, only mice (Martinez, 2005: 53). This short quotation taken from the Guillermo Martinez novel, The Oxford Murders, wonderfully illustrates ‘affordance’, the central concept of this book. The cat’s perception of the mouse as a meal, ‘affords’ the cat a behavioural option of killing and eating it, presumably because the mouse is not likely to fight back where other animals might. One can assume that the ‘affordance’ for the cat would undoubtedly be different if the mouse was 2 metres tall and wielding a baseball bat. If the popular myth propagated by children’s stories is to be believed, then may be this explains why elephants are scared of mice. It is they who perceive mice in such an intimidating way! As what affordance constitutes is dealt with better by others in this book, it suffices here just to say that in its broadest sense, the concept of affordance is taken to be how one’s perceived actions are constrained (or in some cases widened) by what one infers others might do in particular situations

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(Pease, 2006). For example, if one perceives a dog to be hostile, then the consequent range of possible actions available (i.e. affordance) is likely to be more constrained than if it is perceived as friendly or harmless. By now the reader is hopefully of the mind that although the word ‘affordance’ itself may ‘afford’ slightly different meaning for writers of the other chapters, sufficient consensus exists to make it a concept worth considering when one is trying to understand terrorist behaviour. A common thread throughout this book is how different situations and settings can affect the range of actions perceived available to those seeking to commit acts of terrorism, an observation that is inherently important in the wider objective of preventing them. How specific situations and settings might afford the terrorist a certain range of actions is well covered elsewhere in this book and is not repeated here. The point of departure for this chapter is instead to focus on the broader issue of how estimations of the offence homogeneity of criminals and terrorists might affect the range of afforded actions available, not only for those tasked with preventing and countering terrorism, but also for the terrorist. Offence homogeneity is where the individual offender ‘specialises’ by committing offences of a same type; for example, where a bank robber just ‘robs banks’ and a burglar only burgles (Roach, 2009). The chapter begins with a brief exploration of what affordance might mean in the criminal setting and why it should be considered important to understanding and preventing crime, before moving to suggest that it should be given equal consideration to the task of understanding, preventing and countering terrorism. The chapter concludes with the suggestion that, like those seeking to prevent crime, those tasked with preventing and countering terrorism may have a common tendency to overestimate the offence homogeneity of offenders, whereas research on criminal careers and recidivism suggests the contrary (i.e. offence versatility). How overestimation of offence homogeneity can work to constrain the range of actions afforded to prevent and counter terrorism, while at the same time expanding the range of actions afforded to the terrorists in a kind of ‘second-order affordance’ is briefly introduced here, where, given this perspective, those involved in terrorism can commit other types of offences safe in the knowledge it is highly unlikely that being caught will unmask them as terrorists. It is suggested here that by widening the perceptual frame of terrorist offending currently held by those charged with countering and preventing such acts, the range of actions afforded will be increased as a consequence. It is important, on the other hand, that terrorists continue to think that those

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trying to counter them continue to see them as offence homogenous. Such a second-order belief (Cartwright, 2000) broadens the range of actions afforded to counter terrorism by making additional methods of identifying terrorists a more attractive proposition. For example, if one takes the premise that those engaged in terrorism only consider vulnerability of their exposure when planning and committing acts of terrorism, then, consequently, they are unlikely to commit other crimes unrelated to terrorism with the same degree of ‘carefulness’. Being careless with the commission of their ‘nonterrorist’ crimes makes them vulnerable to identification as terrorists by more mainstream policing methods, providing the links are made. Suggestions are made at the end of this chapter, whereby other offences committed by terrorists might be best used against them in order to ‘flag up’ further scrutiny which might in turn uncover their terrorist activities.

Affordance and ‘mind-reading’ When the French philosopher René Descartes (1960) decided to doubt his own existence all he found was the opposite. He concluded instead that as somebody was doing the doubting (i.e. him) then he must exist, leading to the famous proclamation attributed to him, ‘I think therefore I am’. Although he might have failed spectacularly in his mission, he did unintentionally illustrate what is called ‘second- order intentionality’. This involves self-awareness and the realization that others are similarly aware (Cartwright, 2000). To illustrate, the following is borrowed from Roach and Pease (currently in press); ●

‘I think I’m innocent’, is first-order



‘I think that you think I’m innocent’, is second-order



‘I think that you think that I think I’m innocent’, is third-order, and,



‘I think that you think that I think that you think I’m innocent’, is fourthorder.

We usually lose the plot around fifth- or sixth-level intentionality. The ability to think beyond first-level intentionality is effectively an alternative name for theory of mind (Premack and Woodruff, 1978). Humphrey (1976) claimed famously that humans do not make complex social world calculations merely based on ‘external behaviour’. That is, how we behave is as much a reflection of how we perceive others to think and feel

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as it is based on their ‘outward (visible) behaviour’. Take, for example, concern for a friend who has recently split from a long-term partner of whom they are still very fond. If they respond to the question ‘how do you feel?’ with ‘never better’, you probably would not believe them. You are more likely perhaps to interpret their reply as, ‘I’m not too good thank you, in fact I’m a bit of an emotional wreck if truth be known’ (Roach and Pease in press). So how do we ‘read minds’ in this way? How are we capable of putting ourselves in the place of others and reflecting on how we might think? Because we are blessed with what is termed as theory of mind (Premack and Woodruff, 1978) described by Barrett et al. (2002): This rather awkward term is meant to suggest that the individual has a belief (a theory) about the content of (another person’s) mind – in other words, he/she understands that other people have mental states (thoughts, desires, beliefs) and that these mental states drive their behaviour. More importantly, perhaps, the individual can appreciate that, at any one time, the actual content of these mental states can differ considerably from our own and from the objective reality of a situation (296–7). Put simply, there is a sense in which affordance rests on having a theory of mind, whereby the individual is able to infer or recognize the thoughts and actions of others based essentially on perceptual evidence which influences the range of actions they perceive available to them and consequently their eventual choice of action. For example, without theory of mind, we would only act according to our own thoughts and feelings and not in partial response to those of others. Behaviour would be utterly selfish and altruism would not exist. Ken Pease suggests that affordance is therefore best perhaps understood here as a kind of psychology of what actions come to mind in a certain setting (Pease, 2006), rather than in the more narrow ‘Gibsonian sense’ of perception per se. Pease (2006) also suggests affordance is preferred to opportunity because an opportunity implicitly exists outside people. For example, we all have a chance of winning the national lottery providing we buy a ticket. Affordance is a perception of what actions come to mind in a particular setting, and as such is a concept well known to designers. The psychologist and designer Donald Norman (1998) gives the example of door handles by way of illustration. A plate on a door affords pushing where a handle affords pulling (Norman, 1998).

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Affordance, crime and the criminal setting In this chapter, affordance in a criminal context is taken to be simply the range of behaviours that an individual might consider if they perceive situations in particular ways. For example, with the classic ‘broken window’ (Wilson and Kelling, 1982; Kelling and Coles, 1995) where run down, vandalized and generally uncared for environments afford better opportunities to engage in crime and disorder without much risk of reproach, for some at least. The gist of the thinking being that if people do not care for a particular area then they are (a) not likely to spend much time in it (so little risk of observing our individual up to no good) and (b) even less likely to waste breath bothering to complain and challenge what goes on within it. The broken windows hypothesis is founded on the notion that a rundown damaged building (or area) will afford damage in a way that an undamaged one does not (Kelling and Coles, 1995). Similarly, the social psychologist Philip Zimbardo found in an experiment that the perception of a vehicle with a missing wheel afforded vandalism and theft opportunities that a complete vehicle did not (1973; 2007). Nee and Meenaghan (2006) in their study of decision making in burglars found that those more experienced at burglary, processed faster cognitively relevant stimuli and cues available from settings when searching for targets, suggesting expertize. These examples lead Pease to suggest Affordance is, one may speculate, the psychology which links predisposition to setting (2006: 59). Situational Crime Prevention (Clarke, 1997) is about preventing crime by effective environmental manipulation. Usually, where the risk for the offender is increased and the rewards from the crime reduced, the crime can be prevented. Crime affordances, however, will differ according to whether an open first storey window is perceived as an opportunity to burgle, or simply as evidence of a hot day. Other considerations will influence affordance here such as whether the individual is thinking about crime and/or whether they are agile enough to get up to (and through) the open window. If not, then it is unlikely that the open window will afford the possibility of committing burglary for the individual; the point being that affordances are not homogenous. Indeed affordances vary across people and must be acquired and refined by personal or vicarious experience (Pease, 2006). We now move to explore how different perceptions of offenders and offending can affect affordance- specifically, how the range of actions available

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to those charged with identifying and investigating them, can be constrained if the common misperception that offenders are offence homogenous is adopted.

Serious offenders: Offence homogenous or heterogeneous? To view serious offenders as offence homogenous is superficially at least an attractive one. Logically, if rapists only rape and terrorists only commit terrorism related offences, then it makes the understanding of specific crimes more comprehensive and presumably their perpetrators more readily identifiable. For example, if rapists are motivated by a different set of identifiable reasons and employ different modi operandi to terrorists, then the investigation of each will demand different knowledge and skill. Likewise, crime prevention, criminal investigation and offender rehabilitation can then be tailored specifically to the type of crime committed and not to the individual circumstances of the offence (Roach, 2009). In theory, the fight against crime would be easier in a world where individuals displayed only homogeneous offending, Because, for example, only those with known burglary convictions would be targeted for burglaries, and not shop-lifters or arsonists. Easier it might be, but does the research literature on criminal careers support such a perception of serious offenders and their offences?

Criminal careers research In his classic study of the careers of ‘criminal types’ in California in the late 1960s, John Irwin found that each was defined by their distinctive offending patterns. For example, thieves engaged in theft, burglary or robbery; hustlers in various types of fraud and deception; dope fiends in drug related offences and so forth, suggesting that the criminals in at least this study specialized in their offending (Irwin, 1970). Offence specialization can be described as ‘the tendency to repeat the same offence type on successive crimes’ (Fisher and Ross, 2006, p. 151). Fisher and Ross go on to suggest that identifying offence specialization is important because, If being a robber is a specialized way of being a criminal, in the same way that being a plumber is a specialized form of legitimate employment, then it makes sense to try to understand crime in terms of distinctive forms

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of recruitment and training, specialized knowledge and expertise, and its expression in distinctive forms of criminal behaviour that are stable over time (Fisher and Ross, 2006, p. 152). As will be discussed, whether offenders specialize (or not) in their offending holds no little importance for broader criminological explanations and crime control, including preventing and countering acts of terrorism (addressed more comprehensively in the final section of this chapter). If, overall, studies of criminal careers point to a high degree of offence specialization, then crime should be responded to in ways which target specific motivations and behaviours of particular criminal types. Criminal careers can be then used to predict future offending (Armstrong, 2008), such as, what makes robbers rob, what makes violent criminals violent, or even what makes a terrorist. Evidence of high offence specialization makes emergent methods of identifying serious offenders such as self-selection policing a much less attractive prospect (Roach, 2007a, 2007b). The self-selection policing approach rests on the premise that ‘those that do big bad things also do little bad things’, and often more frequently (Roach, 2007a). Specific minor offences, such as illegal parking in disabled bays (Chenery et al., 1999) and non-compliance with the Home Office Road Transport 1 form (Roach, 2007b),1 are identified as being useful flag offences of more concurrent serious criminality. However, if bank robbers baulk at extortion or parking on double-yellow lines, then such an approach to predicting offending based on offence heterogeneity falls down. Some suggestions for how self-selection policing might be best employed to uncover terrorists are made in the final section of the chapter. To revisit, if a high degree of offence versatility is found (i.e. no specialization) then crime appears a more generalizable phenomenon resting on classicist ideas such as rational choice (Cornish and Clarke, 1986), general explanations for crime (Hirschi and Gottfredson, 1988) and Routine Activity Theory (Cohen and Felson, 1979). Here it is the presence of crime opportunities that are the preferred explanation, rather than, for example, offenders having specialist knowledge or skill. The criminal careers literature, with its central focus on identifying whether offenders are more offence versatile than specialist, may be equally crucial when looking at perceptions of terrorists and their offending. If those charged with preventing and countering terrorist acts do generally perceive terrorists to be offence homogenous when they are not, then as a consequence, this affords them a narrower range of possible actions than if they perceive them as offence versatile. For the terrorist, of course, the opposite might be true, with more actions seemingly available to them when they perceive those

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trying to counter them as believing them to be offence homogenous. To risk repetition, why should they worry about being caught speeding if police and Security Service personnel think that they only commit acts of terrorism and not other types of crime? Dedicated research probing counter-terrorism agency and terrorist perceptions of offence homogeneity is both called for and outlined at the end of this chapter. However, before addressing that issue, we move first to explore whether the criminal careers literature favours offence specialization over versatility, or whether this should itself be considered a false dichotomy. Leonore Simon, in ‘Do criminal offenders specialize in crime types?’, considers offence specialization not only to be a ‘myth’ but one ‘perpetuated by researchers and legal actors who emphasize the heinous homicides perpetuated by the offender while playing down other forms of criminality’ (Simon, 1997, p. 35). As an example, he cites the varied and extensive criminal career of US serial killer, Henry Lee Lucas, at the expense of Lucas’ most heinous crimes (Simon, 1997, p. 35). By ‘researchers’ one trusts he means those investigating criminal careers, and there is merit in his appraisal as arguably such researchers have tended to neglect minor offences and those which do not readily fit into neat crime categories (Roach, 2007a, 2007b). Traditionally criminologists have expended a lot of energy trying to distinguish whether career criminals are specialists’ or ‘generalists’ (Blumstein et al., 1986; Tarling, 1993) because it has important implications. Armstrong (2008), for example, suggests that if offenders specialize, then knowledge of past offences can be used to predict later offence types, and that treatment policies can be ‘type specific’ (Armstrong, 2008). Some have gone so far as to say that this has plagued criminology, consistently leading to disappointing results (Simon, 1997; Soothill et al., 2000; Soothill, Fitzpatrick and Francis, 2009). Others suggest instead that criminologists must abandon their insistence on the false dichotomy that offenders are either specialists or generalists (versatile in their offences), in the face of overwhelming evidence that says they can be and indeed are both (Soothill et al., 2000, p. 57). Soothill et al. (2000) focused on the criminal careers of over 7000 sex offenders (who are thought generally to be the most ‘specialized’ of serious criminals) and found evidence of differences in offence specialization and versatility between different groups of sex offender. For example, males convicted of underage sexual intercourse (statutory rape) had a versatility that took in the full spectrum of criminality. Whereas, those convicted of indecency between males were more infrequent re-offenders, and if reconvicted this tended to be for the same offence (i.e. indecency between males). The point being that ‘sex offender’ is perhaps more of an ‘umbrella term’ than a description of a homogenous group.

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Soothill et al. (2000) concluded from their study of sex offenders that with regard to criminal careers, criminologists need to recognize that offending specialization and generalization (versatility) exist at two levels; sex offenders may be specialists, generalists or both (Soothill et al., 2009). They sum this up by way of a wonderful analogy (for those of us who follow sport anyway). A person may play many sports, but specialize in football with a favoured position of centre forward. A person can, indeed, be regarded as a versatile sportsperson and a specialist football centre forward at the same time? A sex offender can behave in the same way (2000, p. 57). Crime categories used can have a big effect on whether a criminal career is considered offence homogenous. For example, the criminal career of an individual with previous offences for shop-theft but whose next offence is to steal a car can equally be considered offence homogenous (as all his crimes are related to the theft of property) or as offence heterogeneous (the taking of a vehicle without consent of the owner being a different category of crime). For the sake of brevity we will not expand here; it suffices to say that how crimes are recorded (as distinct from the nature of the crime itself) will have a dramatic effect on perceptions of offence homogeneity and heterogeneity in a criminal career. Another important aspect of a criminal career concerns offending escalation, that is, do career criminals move from minor to serious criminality as their career progresses – sometimes termed the ‘graduation hypothesis’. It has been suggested ‘a belief in escalation is probably the most widely held view of the patterns of criminal careers’ (Blumstein et al., 1986, p. 84). One commonly accepted description suggests escalation is ‘the tendency for offenders to move to more serious offence types as offending continues’ (Blumstein et al., 1986, p. 8). Loeber and Le Blanc (1990) suggest that there are many ways in which quantitative changes (e.g. degree, direction and velocity) as well as qualitative changes (e.g. conservation and paths) in offending can be shown above and beyond mere escalation. They criticize the ‘offending cycle’ as being too narrowly preoccupied with the increasing seriousness of the offence and the tendency for offenders to modify their offending both quantitatively and qualitatively as they continue to offend throughout their career. Offenders can and do ‘de-escalate’ their offending, for example, by choice, lack of opportunity or incarceration, both in frequency and/or in seriousness. This lends support to the premise that serious offenders commit a wide range of offences, including more routine minor ones. The alternative being that those offenders who ‘graduate’ to serious offending then only commit serious offences thereafter. This is difficult to imagine.

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Escalation, therefore, should not be considered the only way of characterizing an offending cycle. It is more instructive to think of a triangular distribution, with high seriousness offences more often being associated with a range of offences of lesser seriousness (Roach, 2009). Our brief foray into the criminal careers literature strongly suggests that offenders (particularly those that commit crimes of a serious nature) tend to be offence heterogenous (Wolfgang et al., 1972; Piquero, 2000). That is, they display versatility with regard to the types of offences they commit. David Farrington, the main proponent of criminal careers research in the UK rather pragmatically concludes There is a small but significant degree of specialisation, superimposed on a great deal of versatility (Farrington et al., 1988, p. 483). The research evidence from criminal career studies, therefore, strongly suggests that although offenders do sometimes specialize, they are generally far more offence versatile than perceived. An important further and related point with regard to affordance and serious criminals is therefore, whether this perception is shared by those charged with preventing and countering their actions, and equally by the criminals themselves. Before exploring whether the perception of terrorists by counterterrorism agencies is one which favours terrorists as offence homogenous (specialists) over offence heterogeneous, a study of police perceptions of offence homogeneity is presented by way of illustration of both process and context. The last section of this chapter then explores how counter-terrorism agency perceptions of terrorist offence homogeneity might be considered analogous to perceptions of offence homogeneity held by police.

Police perceptions of offence homogeneity In an as yet unpublished study of police perceptions of offending patterns, Roach (2009) asked police officers of various ranks to predict the likelihood of offence homogeneity for a second offence type from a given first offence. Put simply, they were asked to express, as a percentage, how likely an offender was to commit a second offence of the same type as their first. A repeatedmeasures ANOVA test was then carried out in order to identify any differences in participant predictions of homogenous re-offending. Results showed that the differences in predicted likelihood of re-offending were unlikely to have arisen by chance F(9,369) ⫽ 7.47, p ⫽ 0.001, eta ⫽ 0.56) with 56 per cent of the variation in error scores accounted for by the differences in predictions of

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homogenous re-offending according to first offence type. This suggests that on the whole, police tended to grossly overestimate the offence homogeneity of offenders, irrespective of type of offender and offence given. Tarling (1993) used reconviction data and found that the offences of violence, burglary and theft, showed the highest degree of specialization. Although when taken as a whole the findings of Roach (2009) echoed this, police predictions were much higher across all the crime types asked. For example, Tarling (1993) found that about half the crime types had a probability of 0.25 or less. In the Roach (2009) study, no police predictions of offence homogeneity (specialization) were below a probability of 0.4, suggesting that police tended to overestimate offence homogeneity across all crime types. Put simply, police in this study considered all offences to be specialized, whereby the offender was more likely to commit a next offence of the same type irrespective of the crime committed. The implications of this finding are addressed later in the chapter. While there was on average an overestimation of specialization demonstrated by police, the measures of dispersion showed that there was huge variation in officer judgements, with some officers considering certain crimes far more specialized than others (Roach, 2009). For example, the range went from an officer who believed that any second offence would be the same as the first in 24 per cent of cases where there was a second offence to another who believed that any second offence would be of the same type as the first in every single case. Perhaps this incidental finding, that officers have widely different assumptions about the progression of the criminal career, is at least as important as the overestimation of homogeneity. Whether by overestimating homogeneity or simply having widely dispersed views, the use of prior criminality to inform risk of future criminality appears in practical terms limited. Indeed, Tarling (1993) found what he terms ‘stationarity’ in criminal careers in that the offender was no more likely to commit the same next offence type whether it was early in a career (e.g. offences two to three) or later (e.g. offences six to seven). This is of no little importance where a common perception is that offenders increase in specialization. In the Roach (2009) study, police participants were also asked to predict the likely next offence type for 20 different offence history scenarios. Correlational analysis of the prediction scores across all offence history scenarios indicated, in all cases, that the most likely next offence coincided with the offence history given. Where, for example, the offence history scenario detailed violence and burglary, then violence and burglary were consistently predicted to be the most likely next offences. Burglary was the highest predicted next offence in both scenarios where burglary was listed, suggesting that in making predictions of

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next offences participants were using a common offending schema, probably based on their experience and knowledge of past offenders. This interpretation is supported further when, for example, it was noted that violence was the second highest prediction in a scenario where it was included in the offence history, but dropped considerably to only the fifth highest prediction in a scenario where the offence history was comprised of only burglary offences. This was also the case for robbery and public order offences probably because of their links in officers’ minds with violent crime. Prediction of burglary as next offence, in contrast, increased in the burglary only scenario, as did predictions of theft and fraud, offences not usually associated with violence but associated with illegally acquiring the property of another. Police predictions remained unchanged across the two scenarios for drink driving, drugs, sexual and motoring offences, suggesting that the specific offence histories given had little (or no) influence on predictions. It is interesting that sexual and drug offences predictions did not appear to correlate with violence when research on reconviction patterns suggests that they often do (Cunliffe and Shepherd, 2007). Now to summarize the important implications of these studies. The Roach (2009) study found that all police next offence predictions consistently favoured offence homogeneity across all offence history scenarios. This strongly suggests that an individual’s type of previous offence was considered the best predictor of their future types of offending, irrespective of the type of offence history presented. Comparison with reconviction data shows this to be a gross overestimation of offence homogeneity by police in this study at least. For example, reconviction data shows that those convicted for violent offences are found to be the least likely to be reconvicted for any type of offence (Cunliffe and Shepherd, 2007). Put another way, Roach (2009) suggests that police generally appear to have a grossly overestimated perception of offence homogeneity and although not tested for directly in this study, there is no reason to suggest that police perceptions of terrorists is likely not to be one of offence homogeneity. Some supporting evidence for this view may be found when one looks at the organization of operational policing. It is common for police facing the challenges posed by serious offenders to organize along categories of serious crime, by creating dedicated teams of officers charged with combatting specific types of serious crime and serious offender, for example drugs, robbery, vice and terrorism squads (Schneider, 2005; Roach, 2009). This suggests a collective police perception of serious offenders as offence homogeneous, as for example, those with a history of robbery demand the attention of the robbery squad as ‘robbers’, with potential for other offence types overlooked. A consequence of overestimation of

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offence homogeneity will result in the crime versatile robber not necessarily being identified as a candidate for the burglaries, drugs and motoring offences he commits – or the burglary or drug offender escaping attention as a possible suspect for the robbery. The logical and analogous question to ask here is if the police, counterterrorism agencies and the general public’s perceptions (and so affordance) of terrorists are equally likely to be one of overestimation of offence homogeneity, as was found with police officers and more mainstream offending. In the last section, it is suggested why dedicated research along the lines of Roach (2009) is necessary in order to explore perceptions of terrorists as offence homogenous, and how self-selection might be employed against the terrorist.

Terrorists, counter-terrorism and an overestimation of offence-homogeneity? The following extract is taken from a review of the intelligence on the London terrorist attacks on 7 July 2005, by the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC): MI5 have told the Committee that they could easily have verified the information that they had and formally identified who UDM E was, but there was no reason to take this formal step because of what they thought he was. There was nothing at the time to suggest that UDMs D or E were no more than small time fraudsters who had some minor contact with the CREVICE plotters. MI5 did not, therefore, verify the details they had on the men or open “personal files” for them. There was nothing, at the time, to suggest that MI5 should divert resources away from investigations of known terrorist plots in order to investigate someone whom they believed was a minor criminal (Intelligence and Security Committee report, 2009, Could 7/7 have been prevented? paragraph 84). The review report concluded that at the time, the Security Service was correct in its assessment of UDMs D and E as simply ‘minor criminals’ and ‘small time fraudsters’. As such, the perception was that they did not pose any significant threat and therefore did not warrant the more security resource intensive categories of ‘essential’ or ‘desirable’ targets. Essentially, it seems that in the terms used in this paper these people were perceived as being offence homogenous, small time common criminals. The individuals (UDMs)

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in question were Mohammed Siddique Khan and Shazad Tanweer, two of the four bombers that took the 52 lives in the terrorist attacks on London in 2005. The point being made here is not that suspect prioritization decisions are made solely on perceptions of offence specialization, but that assumptions of terrorist criminal careers (such as specialization) are likely to play some part in the process. Dedicated criminal career research (perhaps analogous to Roach, 2009) is urgently needed which tests and, where necessary challenges, such assumptions. A suggestion that terrorists are perhaps more offence heterogenous in their criminality, was made in a recent report on the Coroner’s Inquests into the London Bombings of 7 July 2005, where the report author, the Rt. Hon. Lady Justice Hallett, was more skeptical about the assessment of Khan and Tanweer as ‘common criminals’. While acknowledging the possible confounding influence that hindsight affords, she raises doubt over whether the Security Service assessment of the two men at the time was indeed correct, thereby questioning the ISC review finding: There is considerable force in Mr Patrick O’Connor’s submission that if they were dismissed as common criminals that would have been a mistake. (Rt. Hon Lady Justice Hallett, 2011:18) There is also evidence that some terrorists commit more mainstream criminal offences preceding, during and after acts of terrorism. A powerful example is that of Jamal Ahmidan who was stopped for speeding en route to Madrid on the morning of 11 March 20042. Had the details he gave police been properly checked and the trunk of his stolen car been searched by the officer, they would not only have become suspicious, but would have found a large quantity of explosives destined to be used as part of an attack on the Spanish railway system which killed 191 people and injured 1800 others, a few hours later. Another example is the apprehension of Oklahoma bomber, Timothy McVeigh. Although the Madrid bomber example may be considered over-dramatic, it serves to illustrate the importance of understanding perceptions of terrorist offending and in turn terrorist perceptions of those perceptions, which as affordance, will affect his/her decision making. If, as hypothesized, perceptions of terrorist offending overestimate homogeneity, then it is equally likely that terrorists also perceive this to be the case and their thinking and behaviour is affected accordingly. For example, if the general perception of terrorists is that they only engage in acts of terrorism, then it is possible that some will not baulk at committing other types of crimes. Why? Because if there

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exists a perception of an overestimation of their offence homogeneity then it is unlikely that other crime will uncover them as terrorists. So what am I suggesting exactly? What is needed is a dedicated criminal career research programme for terrorist suspects which focuses on;

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1

Counter-terrorist agencies’ perceptions of terrorist offence homogeneity and compares them with the criminal records of known or suspected terrorists – perhaps research comparable with that conducted with police perceptions by Roach (2009). It seems reasonable to assume that counter-terrorism agencies and personnel are analogous to police in that they are not homogenous in their perceptions of terrorist offence homogeneity. This needs to be explored as if the case the implication follows that counter-terrorism practice will differ across agencies and individuals and therefore so will practice and policy.

2

Identifying minor offences committed frequently by terrorist suspects. That is the identification of those more mainstream criminal offences found most indicative of those engaging in terrorism. Police and counter-terrorism agencies could then legitimately place more scrutiny on those individuals as they have self-selected by virtue of committing a ‘trigger-offence’. However, self-selection policing can only be employed when trigger offences have been identified (see Roach, 2007a, 2007b). Some offences will be directly related to the planning and execution of acts, for example, stealing cars to be used as bombs, and some will be less directly obvious, for example, parking illegally outside a possible target in order to assess the security response. In the same way that it is incumbent on horticultural suppliers to inform the necessary agencies when individuals try to purchase a tonne of fertilizer (when they only have a window box at their flat), or the suppliers of hairdressing products that an individual is trying to purchase a large amount of hydrogen peroxide (but they do not cut hair or own a salon), the identification of those ‘trigger offences’ for those engaging in terrorism will make it incumbent on police more frequently to thoroughly scrutinize those who commit them. This could be as easy as looking in the trunk of cars of those caught speeding. This is the essence of the self-selection policing approach (Roach, 2007a, 2007b) and it promises to be equally useful when employed to help uncover and identify those planning and executing acts of terrorism (Roach 2009).

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An important distinction must be made between the use of minor offences as legitimate means by which known suspects are targeted, and self-selection policing. Self-selection policing is concerned with identifying minor trigger offences most indicative of active concurrent serious offending. That is, those minor offences which if targeted will yield a significant number of active serious offenders (Roach, 2007a, 2007b, 2009). For example, as noted earlier, those who park illegally in disabled bays (Chenery et al., 1999). Using minor offences committed by known criminals (or terrorist suspects) as a legitimate means by which police attention is focused on them is wholly different. Al Capone was imprisoned for tax evasion not because his tax evasion uncovered him as a gangster, but because it was all the authorities could pin on him even though he was a well-known gangster (Roach, 2009). As long as terrorists percieve the perception of them to be one of offence homogeneity, then methods such as self-selection policing should become more attractive propositions for those charged with identifying and countering them. Equally important for counter-terrorism agencies is determining the extent to which terrorist suspect prioritization (risk) assessments are influenced by an overestimation of offence homogeneity. One hopes that the discounting of two of the London Bombers as priority suspects was both an isolated incident and one not simply driven by their perceived status as just ‘minor offenders’. Again, dedicated research on terrorist criminal careers and counter-terrorism perceptions is necessary to test such hypotheses. Indeed, the first hurdle to overcome is of course finding out whether counter-terrorism agencies and personnel do indeed perceive terrorists as offence homogenous and, as a consequence, whether such an affordance is acting to constrain their actions. Until a dedicated research programme focused on the actual and perceived criminal careers of terrorists is conducted then we shall never know. And the possible utility of self-selection policing to counter terrorism never realized.

Notes 1 In England and Wales, if, when stopped by police, the driver of a vehicle cannot produce required documents (i.e. certificate of insurance and the Ministry of Transport certificate (vehicle safety check)) then they are issued with a Home Office Road Transport form 1 (HORT1). This compels them to present the necessary documents at a police station within 7 days. Roach (2007b) found ‘non-compliance’ to be indicative of active concurrent criminality. 2 El Mundo (Madrid), 8/23/2004) found at HTTP://Documenta. ElMundo. ORBYT.ES/ (accessed 10/6/2001)

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9 Affordance as inferred opportunity? Phil Unsworth Greater Manchester Police1

Rosie Alexander Cheadle Hulme School

Ken Pease Loughborough University2

I

n the first section of the chapter, the nature and attraction for the criminologist of the notion of affordance will be discussed. That will be followed by an attempt to apply affordance thinking to the perceptions and behaviour in radicalization, target selection and citizen perceptions of risk. The original Gibsonian (1950) meaning of the term affordance centred on object uses. It concerned things that you could actually do with objects. Donald Norman (1998) extended this to perceived affordance, that is, actions that the thing suggested you do with them. Ekblom and Sidebottom (2007) describe affordance in the crime opportunity context as an offender’s capacity to see utility in an object. They thus subtly locate affordance in the actor’s head. While complementary definitions of affordance are to be found throughout this volume, the common element of all seems to be that action towards a person, object or situation is contingent upon perceived properties of that

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person object or situation. In the sense used by both Gibson and Norman, action generally is seen to be constrained by the attributes of objects (if you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail) or actors (if all illness is seen as demonic possession, exorcism is the only afforded action). However, it is perhaps more useful to back off from the literature debates to attempt a simple (and personal) overview of the concept.

Direct limits to affordance Some situations strongly constrain the range of feasible behaviour. For example, it is not humanly possible to breathe when buried or fly in air unaided. These can be thought of as strong hard-wired limits to afforded behaviour, and are universal and unlearnt. The limiting case of such hard-wired constraints is the reflex. Some situations strongly but not inexorably limit feasible behaviour, but some situations weakly constrain feasible behaviour. For example, it is possible but more difficult to run uphill than downhill. At first sight these direct limits to afforded behaviour, strong or weak, may be thought uninteresting, but the discipline of evolutionary psychology has suggested some more subtle hard-wired limits. An obvious example is the impulse to flee from possible predators. Species in which such an impulse was absent will themselves have become absent by now! To take one more contentious instance, consider Dunbar’s Number. This is a theorized cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. These are relationships in which an individual knows who each person is, and how each person relates to every other person. The number has been proposed to lie between 100 and 230, with a modal value of 150 (Dunbar, 2010). This means that people will cease to seek new people to whom to relate beyond the Dunbar number. Whatever the range of application of the Dunbar number (to which social networking sites offer a challenge), it illustrates possible direct limits to afforded behaviour which are derived from selection advantages in evolutionary time.3

Contingent limits to affordance Social skills have to be acquired by the varying reinforcement contingencies of behaviour during socialization. Variation in individual distributions of adult behaviours in context can be thought of as the set of learnt affordances. These will be a function of motivation, aptitude and the reinforcement schedules

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operating during exposure to similar situations in the past. In northern Europe at least, dogs are mostly for patting and pigs are mostly for eating. Roach (this volume) distinguishes first, second, nth order contingencies according to chains of circumstance. This can be trivially illustrated by conversations. An initial ‘Hello, how are you’ invites (with high affordance) a response ‘Fine, thanks, how are you’. The next gambit is less constrained. If the next utterance were to be ‘Have you discovered the Higgs boson yet’ there would be high probability of the answer ‘no’. If it were ‘How is your work at CERN going’ there would be a range of answers of moderate probability. Affordance thus represents the ever-changing distribution of probabilities of a following behaviour depending on the sum of context including prior behaviour. Roach’s analysis chimes with the present view of chains of contingent affordances as representing the building blocks of socialization in development and decisionmaking in maturity. If one characterizes the notion of affordance in this way, it clearly overlaps with many diverse psychological processes. Two obvious intellectual cousins are Kelly’s (1950) personal construct theory (which explores the terms in which people anticipate events and the choices they make in terms of which pole of a construct contains more action implications); and the notion of framing employed by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky (2000) and other behavioural economists. One could even make a case for operant conditioning and memetics as sharing some of the intellectual purchase of affordance, using the micro and macro characterizations of context respectively. Can a phenomenon which will appeal to such a wide range of theoretical positions remain meaningful? The third author met and admired J. J. and Eleanor Gibson in 1966 but affordance didn’t really hit home at the time (though the charm and intellect of both Gibsons did). Why was the affordance point missed? It is probable that it was ahead of its time. The predominant tradition of experimental psychology at the time concerned a ‘black box’ approach, in which stimulus-response relationships were the thing to be explained, rather than the mediating influence of internal representations of the external world. It is important to distinguish the affordance concept in relation to terrorism and crime since they have different applicability. In nomothetic approaches, the central question is whether there is a degree of consensus as to the range of contingently afforded behaviours relevant to crime or terrorism. Crudely, will most people avoid a lone suitcase in an airport concourse? This will be the sort of issue addressed in the pilot study reported later in this chapter. If people infer different reasons (e.g.) for a police car’s presence outside a mosque to a police car outside a church or synagogue, it will shape their own behaviour around those places, depending on their inference as to the reasons for that

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presence (help or harassment). If people infer different numbers of armed police officers in the departure lines of different airlines, their own behaviour is likely to be shaped accordingly. From the ideographic perspective, a central question concerns how to explain individual differences in the probability distribution of behaviours perceived possible when faced with ostensibly the same situation. There is a parallel here to the history of the study of intelligence. Conventional intelligence assessment tests convergent thinking, where there is a single correct response on which respondents should converge. An alternative tradition tests divergent responding, in which unusual responses are scored highly, in the belief that ingenuity and creativity is inferred from (e.g.) the listing of arcane uses for objects (see Hudson, 1966). When we apply this to thinking about terrorism, radicalization does not necessarily involve divergent thinking, but on the other hand ingenious criminality certainly requires the identification of unusual uses for objects which we might characterize as examples of the affordances associated with that object. This was brought home to the second author while doing participant observation in a hostel for ex-prisoners. A vicious fight broke out and a heavy glass ashtray was wielded as a weapon. It had just been a (full) ashtray a moment before. Some affordances are certainly socialization-dependent, and not uncommon in particular groups, and indeed this may have been the case for the ashtray. For example, in some circles baseball bats ‘afford’ thoughts of violence more than cricket bats, and are sold in all large sports stores, despite the fact that baseball is played very little in the UK. The notion of affordance seems to have eluded Prince Philip, who commented, in 1996 that a gun was no more dangerous than a cricket bat in the hands of a madman. The comment came in the wake of the massacre of 16 children and their teacher by a gun-toting psychopath in Dunblane, Scotland.4 In addition to individual variation in perceived affordances, there is historical variation (whether one thinks of these as nomothetic or ideographic doesn’t really matter). The first generation of road vehicles resembled horse-drawn carriages without the horses. The President of the Royal Society, the botanist Joseph Banks, was inspired by the first balloon flight of the Montgolfier brothers. However, affordance (or framing, or construct theory, please label according to taste) led him to see the application of the balloon as a countergravity device supplementing existing transport options rather than replacing them. His vision was of balloons flying above stagecoaches to reduce the pull of gravity so that two horses would suffice instead of four (see Holmes, 2009). Affordances thus apply brakes to innovation, as this and many other examples attest (see Pease, 2006).

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Situational crime prevention and affordance Applied criminology has, over the last 20 years, substantially shifted its focus from changing the criminal inclinations of people to changing the crime opportunities afforded by situations. There are many reasons for this shift. They include the following: 1

Changing situations raises the threshold at which a crime opportunity is perceived;

2

Efforts to change people only affect those who have already acted in ways which have led them to be officially processed. There is a uniquely large body of evidence as to the effectiveness of situational crime prevention.

The newer approach seems a matter of common sense. Perhaps fashion dictates that newer approaches always do. However, the move towards situational crime prevention is unlike other approaches evidence-based. The scientific immaturity of anti-terrorism research has one main consequence. It makes it difficult to distinguish meaningful and meaningless observations. Most radicalized individuals are men. Most are young. Most of them have experienced some ‘turning point’ prior to radicalization. But what does any of this mean? Is being male and young a cause of radicalization or a correlate of exposure to radicalizing contexts by dint of common experiences or contexts? Given the anecdotal nature of much of the evidence, many of the factors associated with radicalization are likely to be incidental or positively misleading. Situational change has long been the way in which people who want to protect themselves have behaved, as castle walls and moats attest. Nowadays access control, in both cyberspace and the physical world (sometimes tastelessly but memorably termed meatspace), is endemic in one form or another. Academic criminologists have generally been tardy in seeing things that way, but this is not the place to discuss the shortcomings of that discipline. And there was a baby in the criminological bathwater. Situational crime prevention assumes a motivated offender. The socialization of people to the point at which they have a standing decision to offend determines the supply of motivated offenders. This section of the chapter speculates on the perceived affordance of presenting situations, as the building block of radicalization, as a factor in target selection and as a determinant of perceived threat by the potential victims of acts of terror.

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It should be stressed that the read-across between crime prevention and terrorism prevention is limited by the dire consequences of terrorist acts in comparison with the unhappy but more minor consequences of most crime. The second author has elsewhere described the three phases through which new products and services pass: 1

Innovation with little thought to crime consequences;

2

Reaping the crime harvest;

3

Retrofitting crime-reductive solutions (usually partial).

The process can be illustrated by many developments, for example in motor vehicle security through mobile telephony to on-line establishment of identity. In contrast, terrorism prevention has to avoid the harvest by getting protection right first time. As the PIRA statement after the Brighton bombing opined ‘You have to be lucky all the time. We only have to be lucky once’. The stretch from situational crime prevention to terrorism is thus huge but hopefully forgivable for two reasons: 1

The difference in the scale of the consequence of individual events is important, but in essence it involves moving attack testing forward in the terrorism prevention process relative to the crime prevention process, rather than indicating a qualitative change in prevention strategy;

2

The read-across is relatively unexplored.

The relevance to terrorism is tentatively posited as being of three kinds: 1

Radicalization is conceived as a unidirectional change in the perception of ambiguous situations towards the inference of outgroup hostility;

2

Once places and people are ‘framed’ in terms of potential terrorist targets, situational cues (of the kind illustrated in this chapter) determine the perception of vulnerability, and hence opportunity;

3

Once potential victims perceive themselves as such, situational affordances change in ways which are inimical to social harmony.

Socialization is the process of learning how to behave according to expected cultural norms. In the sense used here, radicalization is a sub-type of socialization which can be thought of as adherence to the norms of a

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FIGURE 9.1 Process of radicalisation. sub-group which makes them outliers in the wider culture. There are however no necessary pejorative implications to radicalization, even violent radicalization. In the authors’ superficial reading of the terrorism literature, the process of radicalization is as depicted in Figure 9.1. Implicit in Figure 9.1 is the notion that the availability of countervailing evidence is crucial in achieving radicalization. The truth is no doubt more complex, with McGuire’s (1961, 1970) much neglected inoculation theory of resistance to attitude change suggesting that when unquestioned beliefs are subject to challenge, they are surprisingly vulnerable. The usual radicalization description as depicted in Figure 9.1 is rather general. At a more micro level, how does radicalization work? In Kellian theory, the fundamental postulate is that a person’s processes are psychologically channelled by the way in which (s)he anticipates events. But the word anticipate is misleading. The more common situation is one where your action prevents a possible outcome being realized. If you think a car is about to hit you, you move away. You will never know whether the car would have hit you. The Kelly view can be rendered in affordance terms as a person’s processes are psychologically channelled by presenting affordances, that is, by perceptions of the range of outcomes of person-person and person-situation interactions.5 A speculative account of the building blocks of radicalization is presented as Figure 9.2.

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FIGURE 9.2

The building block of redicalization?

Two assumptions are necessary for the process to be considered plausible. They are: ●

That avoidance behaviour strengthens the belief that the situation/ person avoided merited avoidance (see Bem, 1967 for some relevant evidence);



That radicalization is distinguished from mainstream socialization by its lack of exposure to contradictory evidence (see McGuire, 1961, 1970). The capacity of the internet to allow selection of exclusively supportive views is probably crucial in this regard. Confirmation bias is a well-understood cognitive phenomenon (Nickerson, 1998).

Affordance as implicit in situational crime prevention In the crime prevention literature, the word opportunity features prominently. Arguably the first substantial report in the tradition (Mayhew et al., 1976) was entitled Crime as Opportunity. A further example, Opportunity makes the thief, is both an old saw and the title of a situational crime prevention treatise (Clarke and Felson, 1998). Opportunity is at its heart the perception and evaluation of afforded behaviours, and especially behaviours without negative consequences. This is implicit in routine activity theory which holds that a crime will occur in the presence of a motivated offender and an available

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victim in the absence of a capable guardian. Target selection is no doubt a function of some form of subjective expected utility, in which perceived net advantage of an afforded action determines its status as an opportunity. The power of situational differences to shape perceptions of afforded behaviour as opportunities is remarkable. In a tradition of research beginning with Hartshorne and May (1928), the surprising extent to which small context changes can have large perceptual (and consequently behavioural) consequences has been consistently documented. (see e.g. Mischel and Gilligan, 1964; Sherif, 1966; Haney et al., 1973). The whole situational crime prevention movement is predicated on the notion that situational changes can drive behaviour. For example, simply publicizing a property marking scheme (rather than the marking itself) reduced burglaries (Laycock, 1992). Building residential areas with many cul-de-sacs reduces burglaries (Bowers and Johnson, 2010). The most recent practical outworking of the recognition of the large-scale and subtle determination of behaviour by evaluated affordances can be found in the recent popular book Nudge (Thaler and Sunstein, 2008). Their approach is that default options substantially determine choices in a wide range of contexts. People can be ‘nudged’ towards or away from undesired behaviour. A recent illustration is the implausible but compelling demonstration that legally restricting the number of tablets in paracetamol packets reduces their use in suicide (Hawton et al., 2001). One would think that being allowed to buy only a sub-lethal dose of the drug from one pharmacy would simply lead the intending suicide to visit more pharmacies to ‘top up’ until a lethal dose had been acquired. The study of suicide statistics undertaken by Hawley and colleagues suggests otherwise. This study is useful as the most recent evidence that even the most serious (in this case life-ending) decisions can be shaped by environmental cues. The poster boy for the nudgeability thesis (included here only as an unforgettable rather than centrally relevant instance) is the Schiphol Fly. An image of a fly in the urinals of Schiphol Airport led to spillage reductions of some 80 per cent. The bane of so many women’s lives, the inaccuracy of urinary aim of the males in their home, was largely remedied not by admonition, but by the irresistibility of aiming for the fly. The Schiphol Fly nudges. Urinary inaccuracy is not against the law and perhaps more annoying than fundamentally important, but in contexts as diverse as the choice of retirement plans and the selection of healthy foods in selfservice restaurants, Thaler and Sunstein show how trivial changes in the presenting environment can yield substantial changes in behaviour. Thaler and Sunstein are economists and do not make the obvious references to the crime reduction exemplars. To take one such example, cul-de-sacs have lower levels of crime victimization (see Johnson and Bowers, 2010), an effect which, crime

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prevention practitioners claim, it is possible to enhance by changes in texture or colour of cul-de-sac entrances to provide a perceptual barrier. These can be thought of as enduring crime opportunities, that is, affordances perceived to varying extents by different people according to their standing decision to commit (or refrain from) crime. Of perhaps even more importance than the way in which those with a standing decision to commit crime perceive affordances is the way in which people in general perceive places as criminogenic or criminocclusive. The study reported below addresses such second-order affordances. This concerns the range of behaviours one might consider if one perceives that other people will perceive places as affording opportunities for crime or disorder. A central insight is that one’s perceived action options are constrained by what one infers people might do in particular situations. That inference about places can be based on embedded features of objects (open doors), or of people (ethnicity), or by transient ones (classically the broken window). People feel able to do particular things in particular places and also perceive that other people feel similar licence conferred by area attributes. However, such perceptions would be difficult to elicit by simply asking some question of the sort ‘what sort of things do people around here get up to or experience’. The difficulty can be avoided and, using the example above of police vehicle presence, we can illustrate this by asking for inferences about reasons for police presence. When one sees a police car in a residential area, what is inferred to be the reason for its attendance? In the pilot study described below, the example chosen for demonstration is dwelling type. Some inferences about why the police are there will reveal attitudes, among other things, which lead the area to be avoided, still less considered as an option when deciding where to make one’s home. The inference can be based only on what one supposes people in homes like that might do or experience, that is, a perception of someone else’s perception of the permissible (the afforded behaviour) in that place. Since the same police car is present in all three places used in the present study, there is nothing to suggest differences in reasons for attendance. Any differences in inferences must be a function of the dwelling type depicted, and therefore situationally and perceptually based.

Pilot study Pictures of three dwelling types were prepared; a block of flats, a detached home and terraced housing. To make the images crime-salient, the image of a police car was superimposed by Photoshop to appear parked outside each of the three dwelling types. The images are provided as an Appendix. The

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task subjects were requested to do was ‘to make a guess about why the police car was there’. The order of presentation was standard. Subjects were 62 social studies students at Cardinal Newman College Preston, modal age 17 years, 50 of them female. The purpose behind the study, as described above, was that the presence of the police car evokes different interpretations of the kind of thing that happens in housing of that type, and hence avoidance of or attraction to those and similar places. If, for example, I see a place as the location of violence, it may become a place to be avoided, perhaps to be seen as a place which affords safe car travel but not safe public transport or walking and certainly not a place to move to. The situational context, therefore, defines the range of behaviours that are perceived to be afforded. Table 9.1 shows the number of people responding, and their inferred reasons for their response in terms of offence categories. The total number of responses varies by column and falls below the number of respondents because sometimes no sufficiently specific response was provided. For example, responses like ‘Youths’ ‘Dangerous area’ could not be categorized in Table 9.1. Table 9.2 supplements this by looking at the assumed role of the residents, as victims or complainants or as possible offenders. This was derived from a classification by the writer of the raw responses. For example, if the response suggested that a resident was a victim, the response would be categorized as ‘victim resident implied’. If the suggestion was that an arrest of a resident was involved, ‘offender resident implied’ was the category. As for Table 9.1, some responses were too vague to allow classification.

Table 9.1 Inferred reason for police car attendance by dwelling type (Total n. subjects ⫽ 62) Table 1

Flat Detached home

Drugs

21

1

18

Violence

18

5

14

2

28

13

13

10

4

Property Crime Other Crime/Disorder

Terrace

Table 9.2 Inferred resident characterization Table 2

Flat

Detached home

Terrace

Offender Resident Implied

20

2

9

1

32

1

Victim Resident Implied

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It will be seen that there is a dramatic difference between flat and detached house in terms of the presumption of offender or victim resident. The small number of codable cases in the terraced view reflects answers simply listing offence types or ambiguous replies like ‘noise complaints’ or ‘my house’. A full set of the answers analysed is supplied in the Appendix.

Discussion If the above is generalizable after development and more adequate replication, these results suggest that perceived behavioural affordance in an area varies dramatically by housing type. In the study reported above, police presence will be interpreted very differently simply because of housing type. This suggests that a passer-by seeing a police car outside a block of flats will most often think violence or drugs, outside a detached house will think most of resident misfortune. And it is reasonable to assume that such perceptions will surely drive their own behaviour in relation to those perceptions. What are the implications for policing? If public perception matters, perhaps using unliveried cars in visits to homes in less affluent areas may be worth considering. Within the context of other initiatives, such a strategy might contribute to reducing public unease, and thereby build confidence. Modest as it is, the exercise above illustrates contingent affordance. Depending on housing type, certain resident behaviours are inferred, that is, those are the kinds of behaviours which those contexts afford. The role of crime in moving home (and ghettoizing areas when those who can afford to move have gone) is well known (Xie and McDonald, 2008). A similar dynamic is likely to occur with perceptions or area affordance, making areas ethnically and economically homogeneous. What is the relevance of second-order affordance of this kind to terrorism? If the primary purpose of terrorism is to not to kill, but to induce terror in a nation’s citizenry, which in turn will translate into political or economic action (e.g. opposition to war, distorting markets in petrochemicals), then the active ingredient will be the perception of an enduring threat represented by certain people in certain contexts. However, a critical point to make is that ‘certain people’ might include both potential terrorists, those responsible for their control and people who have no particular connection to the location. For example, there has been a rash of cases wherein Muslim passengers who have gone through airport security have not been allowed to fly.6 In some cases, the reason is that other passengers felt uneasy. Why is this a case of higher order affordance? It is because the context (the airport) is the kind

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of place in which people of a particular kind might engage in terrorist action. There is no instance that I can access where a priest or rabbi has been denied a flight. There is also no instance that the writers can find where people in Islamic dress have been denied access to a mosque. Indeed to pursue this religious theme, it would be interesting to expand the pilot study reported in which clergy of different religions sought to gain access to a range of places of worship. A thought experiment suggests that imams entering churches and synagogues would excite, and rabbis entering mosques may evoke more negative higher order affordances than the other combinations. What are the empirical questions which the higher order affordance perspective invites one to test? A few examples are as follows, with the hypothesized result in brackets in each case. 1

In what contexts does visible security enhance estimates of risk (places not normally associated with terrorist activity e.g. soccer grounds).

2

In what contexts does visible security diminish estimates of risk (transport hubs and iconic buildings).

3

What ethnic composition areas diminish estimates of risk (homogeneous).

4

What ethnic composition areas elevate estimates of risk (heterogeneous with Asian minority).

5

What factors interact with Asian ethnicity to elevate Caucasian estimates of risk (travel alone especially without children, ‘pregnant’, loose clothing).

Perhaps the more general point derives from the novel experience of discussion with UK Government researchers on terrorism which was afforded (!) by the seminar which led to the present volume. The shock was the apparent lack of engagement with situational perspectives on crime prevention. This was particularly evident in the discussion following Richard Wortley’s presentation (see Wortley, this volume, for an extended treatment of his presentation). The concept of affordance is an implicit part of much situational prevention work, and common cause between mainstream crime prevention and terrorism prevention is surely overdue. Only the third author attended the seminar leading to this book, and this paragraph should not be taken as representing the views of the other authors, but it is heartfelt, and hopefully its inclusion can therefore be forgiven. He experienced acute frustration that research is conducted within government

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agencies with results which the academic is not allowed to access. Without a peer review process, those who conduct classified research are denied the opportunity for the immensely valuable (though often chastening) experience of being subjected to peer review. At the seminar giving rise to the present volume, the third writer was repeatedly in the conflicted position of recognizing sincere reporting by able people and being denied the checking against published material which alone can give confidence as to the validity of the results. There surely has to be some means whereby appropriately vetted academics nominated by their peers outside the security veil replicate a peer review process for work done internally, and for such work to be badged accordingly. In the absence of such a process, the danger is of policy being framed on the basis of research whose flaws are never identified and the professional development of in-house researchers being stunted. In-house researchers ought to be similarly frustrated.

Notes 1 2 3

4 5 6 7

8

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The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Greater Manchester Police. Contact email [email protected] The Dunbar number is not chosen as an example without care. It has not been applied in the analysis of terror networks but such an application would be of no little interest. http://news.bbc.co.uk/l/hi/uk354666.stm.Accessed 10 June 2011. An upcoming Liverpool doctorate by Sudhanshu Sarangi will use a similar analytic framework to understand intentions to desist from terrorist actions. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/01/02/nine-muslim-passewngersk_n_1540750.html. Accessed 10 June 2011. http:www.islamophobia-watch.com/islamophopbia-watch/2011/1/30/flyingwhile-muslim-passenger-thrown-off-plane-in-denmark-fo.html. Accessed 10 June 2011. http://articles.cnn.com/2011-05-07/travel/muslims.kicked.off.plane_1_muslimgroup⫽muslim-community-ibrahim-hooper?_s⫽PM:TRAVEL Accessed 10 June 2011.

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10 Conclusion P M Currie University of St Andrews

T

his concluding chapter summarizes key points made by the contributors to this volume in relation to the questions that we had set ourselves: what value, if any, might the concept of Affordance have in our understanding of terrorism and political violence, and, more particularly, how might it contribute to our thinking about counter terrorism. This chapter then goes on to draw together several lines of thought that contributors recommend could fruitfully be pursued in ways that could become of increasing practical benefit to counter-terrorism management strategies. While the contributing authors interpret and develop the concept of affordance in different ways there would seem to be general consensus in this volume that affordance is a useful tool for thinking about the ways in which dynamic, reciprocal and iterative relationships between actors and the environment inform behaviour. In Taylor’s words, ‘[T]he organism brings motivation, history and culture to the environment, where affordances lie in the interaction of those with the environment’. Four of the authors (Wortley, Ekblom, Roach and Pease) draw out how counter terrorism might learn from situational crime prevention in which, although not frequently cited explicitly in the literature, affordance plays an integral role. Wortley helpfully answers the question what does affordance add, if anything, to situational crime prevention? He suggests that both situational crime prevention and affordance are based on the reciprocity principle: that the environment affects the individual and the individual in turn affects the environment. ‘. . . .[T]aking situational crime prevention and affordance together provides a further understanding of the person-situation interaction. The reciprocal nature of the interaction only comes through

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giving equal consideration to the perspectives of both the offender and the environment. Reciprocity, in turn, produces interactions that are iterative dynamic processes’. This affordance approach to examining the interaction between actor and environment can be applied in ways that are relevant to the understanding of terrorism. Ekblom suggests, for example, that potential terrorist targets can be scored against the criteria identified in Clarke and Newman’s mnemonic EVIL DONE which he describes as ‘an affordance shopping guide for selecting the most useful and attackable targets’. This would in turn provide a means of prioritizing potential targets for protection through situational interventions that manipulate the environment in ways to tip the terrorist’s cost benefit analysis in favour of abandoning a contemplated attack. Strategies could include target hardening; removing affordances that suggest a target would be attractive to terrorists; making potential targets less provocative; locating high risk facilities unobtrusively; concealing affordances that suggest vulnerability; or sowing false affordances that cause attackers to behave in ways that draw attention to themselves. The concept of vicarious affordance is found to be helpful in enabling the anticipation and countering of potential actions of criminals and terrorists. Getting inside the heads of a terrorist – thinking terrorist – may help not only in identifying potential targets and finding imaginative means of protecting them but also in selecting interventions that would reduce rather than exacerbate a problem. Wortley cites cases that illustrate this such as Indermaur’s (1996)1 analysis of reducing opportunities for violence in robbery and property crime where signs of resistance from the victim are found to induce in the perpetrator a sense of righteous indignation which escalates violence. In Freilich and Chermak’s (2009)2 case study of a far-rightist who, while resisting arrest, shot a US police officer dead, the authors describe a number of strategies that could have been employed to help prevent the murder rather than to exacerbate the risk of fatal violence. From the point of view of the extreme right-winger, armed police approaching him simply confirmed his worst fears about living in a police state. One is reminded of the massive armed security presence at Waco which sent a clear message to the besieged that their end was at hand. Consideration of affordance has also enabled contributors to offer insights into the means terrorists use. Fridlund explores how technological developments interacted with behaviour and cultural knowledge to afford new terrorist attack techniques to revolutionaries in nineteenth-century Russia. The development of the revolver and of dynamite enabled more targeted attacks to replace the traditional revolutionary battles of the barricades. For

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the terrorists these new methods of attack were not only effective ways of killing their selected targets but also of communicating that they were part of ‘a systematic, scientific, serious and innovative organisation’. This brings us to the idea of unintended affordances. Dynamite and revolvers were designed for purposes other than terrorism. Box cutters were not designed to bring down aircraft. Aircraft were not designed to be used as guided missiles as they were on 9/11. Discovering hitherto undiscovered uses of an object, piece of software or aspect of the environment is not only intrinsically alluring but can have considerable effect in getting around existing security precautions. Employing such discoveries will also have the merit to the terrorist of causing surprise, shock and disruption while pointing up the inadequacies of the security regimes of their enemies. Ramsay explores unintended affordances to provide insights into the important question of why there is so much internet jihadism but relatively little violence, and into the risks of cyber terrorism. In his first chapter, he asks why so many engage with violent jihadi content on the internet and why so few go on to act violently. His answer relates to the affordances of communication technologies. Internet jihadis use the constraints of their medium ‘in order to build a subculture which preserves the pleasures of engagement in radical Islamist ideology while at the same time providing discursive strategies for rationalising away demands for other types of involvement’ such as violence. This insight would seem to have significant counter-terrorist implications. Virtual communities that share consumption of violent radical content may under certain circumstances be surprisingly peaceable in practice. This in turn would suggest that any linear model of radicalization that inexorably leads from intellectual interest to participation in violence may need to be re-thought and attitudes to engagement in problematic material on the internet re-examined. In relation to his second question, Ramsay uses affordance to examine whether and in what circumstances we might see instances of cyber terrorism. He ingeniously and thought provokingly concludes that hacking as terrorism will remain relatively unlikely. He does so by contrasting hacking as ‘the manipulation of objects and technologies in ways which run counter to the social structures which attempt to determine their use’ with the practices of terrorism. He explains why terrorists are likely to use relatively conventional means ‘to produce intelligible social narratives’. While successful terrorism requires innovation of a similar kind to that one sees with hacking, it does so in ways that are more constrained. Both require ‘finding unintended or overlooked uses for the laws and properties of a given situation and then applying them in new and inventive ways to solve a problem’ (Erickson, 2008)3. But terrorists require results which need to be immediate, dramatic

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and shocking whereas for hackers the discovery of the unintended affordance is its own reward. Hacking to be hacking requires something to be ‘genuinely original’. The reader is invited to apply a cost benefit analysis to giving terrorists the freedom ‘to play around, to try things out because they are interesting, where ‘interesting’ is defined as implying the innovative exploitation of latent possibilities afforded by objects in the world’. This would seem a costly approach for a terrorist group for which the imperative is to kill people ‘or, at the very least, to destroy things in a spectacular (usually) explosive way’. Williams also uses the concept of affordance to provide insights into creativity, as well as identity. He sees affordances as ‘the realisation of a selection of some of the ‘objective’ properties of the artefact, in interaction with some of the properties of a particular user’ which ‘results in an extension to the actors skilful access to the world that may surprise even herself’. He helpfully distinguishes between the theoretical term, affordance and the common sense term, use. ‘Affordances once broadly established become uses’. ‘The tension between the theoretical term, affordance and the common-sense term, use, captures the relationship between creative and routine practice well.’ ‘Developing, realising and expanding your repertoire of affordances is not only skilful and thoughtful but it is also ontological – it constitutes, in large part, who you are and who you become – in short your identity’. Williams sees Al Qa’ida as a phenomenon that has successfully identified and exploited the affordances of the twenty-first century’s multi-level, globally networked environment which provides ‘unprecedented variation, interaction and access to information and networks’. He introduces Knorr-Cetina’s theory of micro-global structures which he suggests provide ‘a crucial advance in the debate about affordances for new social morphologies in fields such as terrorism, finance, and political mobilisation’. Al Qa’ida would seem to be an interesting example of such a new micro-global structure. As Philip Bobbitt (2008) concludes in another context ‘. . .if Osama bin Laden is studied in the political science classes of the future, it will be for his organisational innovations, which are his lasting legacy’.4 These insights provided by exploration using the affordance compass are wide ranging if not yet definitive. In Ekblom’s words we may not have constructed a highway but we have accomplished ‘a first mapping of the conceptual terrain’. We have avoided what he calls the error of ‘premature articulation’ which has enabled broad consideration of how the concept might be applied in the terrorist field. And in the process of this exploration contributors have raised a range of questions and suggestions for further consideration and research, including the requirement in due course for a deeper and more precise definition.

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Pease’s preliminary exploration of how perceived affordance may provide insights into public perception of risk leads him to suggest some empirical questions that might helpfully be tested: In what contexts does visible security enhance or diminish estimates of risk? What ethnic composition of an area elevates or diminishes estimates of risk? What factors interact with different ethnicities to elevate or diminish estimates of risk? Pease also suggests that the read across from situational crime prevention to counter terrorism would benefit from further work and that research into the application of the Dunbar number in the analysis of terror networks ‘would be of no little interest’. The idea of second-order affordances prompts Roach to explore how perceptions of criminals’ and terrorists’ offence homogeneity or versatility matter to crime and terrorism prevention. His research into police perceptions of criminal careers suggests that police officers tend to overestimate criminals’ specialization and underestimate their versatility. He asks whether a similar bias may be present among those whose role is to counter terrorism with the attendant risk that their use of the range of possible preventative actions may be unhelpfully constrained as a result. He recommends a programme of research that would: establish counter-terrorist agencies’ perceptions of terrorist offence homogeneity; compare counter-terrorism agencies’ perceptions of terrorist offence homogeneity with the criminal records of known and suspect terrorists; identify trigger offences relating to concurrent terrorist activity with the aim of enabling more efficient pre-emptive use of investigative resources; and determine the extent to which terrorists suspect risk assessments are influenced by an overestimation of offence homogeneity. Only then, Roach comments, would we know whether and to what extent counter-terrorist agencies are constrained by misperceptions of terrorists’ wider criminality. However, we may still not know if the researchers involved were to heed Roach’s advice that ‘[I]t is important. . . .that terrorists continue to think those trying to counter them continue to see them as offence homogenous’. As Pease points out the publication of government research which may be of benefit to terrorists and/or criminals can be problematic. In his consideration of jihadism Ramsay recommends that more in-depth, quantitative research into on-line jihadi careers would cast further light on the relationship between consumption of violent internet material and offline engagement in violence. Ramsay recognizes that his chapter on hacking and terrorism is exploratory but judges that his hypotheses may be testable. He suggests that his three-tiered approach focusing on internal goods as motivators, the ways in which terrorism relates to the ‘imaginary nature of the large scale political community’ and affordances of objects mediating between

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these levels would illuminate the risks associated with a particular individual carrying out acts of terrorism not only by means of computer hacking but also more generally. Fridland’s historical study of Russian revolutionaries’ use of the revolver and dynamite together with Ekblom, Ramsay and Williams’ reflections on creativity could helpfully prompt further thought about the unintended affordances that contemporary and future terrorists might identify in the environment to exploit in the pursuit of targeted political violence. Additionally, Ekblom speculates whether there may exist ‘a negative process equivalent to affordance – a repulsion, or shying away’. He suggests that employing the affordance mindset in examination of the literature on ‘triggers for empathy, disgust, guilt and shame, and also material on offenders’ psychological resources for controlling and inhibiting these emotions’ might yield new insights to ways in which terrorists might be disrupted or demotivated. He also suggests that one way of further researching the feedback loops between agent and environment for potential counter terrorist and crime prevention benefit might be ‘through agent-based modelling and other kinds of simulation, which enable exploration of possible emergent properties of the wider system in which individuals are embedded. Another would be to look in the ‘foraging’ literature within ecology for methods of relating the behaviour of individuals in pursuit of particular instrumental goals, to particular aspects of the environment in which they operate’. Ekblom also recommends an operational test of the utility of vicarious affordance in red and blue team exercises to establish whether attackers are better able to ‘think terrorist’ and the defenders ‘think defender’ if they have had the benefit of the concept incorporated in their briefing material in comparison with a control group of attackers and defenders who have not been introduced to the concept. In summary, it would seem that this book and the workshop from which it stems has succeeded in its aim of shedding light on how affordance can provide insights to terrorism and counter terrorism. We have arrived at substantial agreement about the utility of affordance as a revealing tool for thought in this context. We have also arrived at ideas that could lead to further refining of the concept as well as a programme of substantial empirical research. This last possibility flows from the essence of the utility of affordance. Affordance focuses attention not on the cognitive and mental processes internal to the terrorist but on the significance of the relationship between behaviour and the environment. As Taylor observes in his introduction: ‘Even in a complex area like terrorism, this relationship is in principle observable and therefore offers the opportunity for knowledge to progress based not on speculation but evidence’.

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Appendix

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Individual Responses Flats Drugs To arrest someone Drugs Complaint about noise level from neighbours Drugs/violence arrest Domestic violence, drugs Antisocial chavs – drug bust Domestic violence Fraud Dangerous area Drugs Drugs Raid A rough estate that committed crime Drugs or violence Rough area, violence (serious) Lower class living area

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Trouble Delinquent child Domestic Violence Drugs Antisocial behaviour/public disturbance Family feud They are coming to arrest someone for antisocial behaviour Arrested someone Arrest somebody Disturbance, for example, fight/argument Someone committed crime, stole something Antisocial behaviour Murder Working class area, rowdy behaviour Poorer area Someone’s been beaten up There’s been a crime To make an arrest Domestic Violence Has been an issue inside Domestic To tell someone bad news Violence Terrorizing elderly people Criminal house Vandalism/domestic violence Drugs Drugs Loud noise Domestic Violence Drugs Drugs Theft/drugs Drugs Drug problem

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Drugs Been a fight Drugs Drugs, abuse Burglary Trouble Criminal lives there Drugs/violence Drugs Domestic violence Vandalism Detached Theft The owners have had their car stolen Victims of crime To inform of bad news, take a statement Tell parents bad news Identity theft, report antisocial behaviour in area Tell them someone’s dead Someone has broken into their house Complaint Had a crime committed against them tax evasion There has been a burglary They have been a victim To get information from a victim Victims of crime Victim To get information about a crime committed against them Burglary Burglary Burglary Domestic violence Domestic violence Fraud

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Reported crime Reporting crime/victim Robbery Someone’s a victim of crime Something bad has happened and they’ve come to tell them Tax evasion To gather information (victims of crime) Victims Someone’s died Something has been stolen from them/drugs bust To console a victim Murder Someone might have been on property Burglary/theft Drugs Written Statement MC crime Theft from house To get a witness statement Antisocial behaviour Cuppa Truancy Fraud Identity theft Domestic Violence Theft Domestic Violence Fraud Fraud Been a robbery Been Robbed Children’s behaviour, victims Theft Theft VAT fraud

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Fraud They have reported a crime Robbery Victims of theft Terraced Terrorism A break-in at the property Arresting somebody Assault Bring child back Car theft, robbery Cartheft/joyriding Child in trouble with police Domestic violence Domestic violence Domestic violence Domestic violence Domestic violence Domestic violence Domestic violence Domestic violence/drugs Don’t know Drugs Drugs Drugs Drugs Drugs Drugs Drugs Drugs Drugs Drugs Drugs Drugs Drugs

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Drugs Drugs raid Drugs raid Drugs raid Fraud Has been an issue inside Investigating theft from other home Live there Make an Arrest Murder My house Noise complaints Not paying tax Prostitutes Robber lives there Robbery Robbery Shooting Terrorism Theft Theft Theft To arrest someone Trouble Vandalism Vandalism Vandalism Victims of crime Violence Violence Young offender/drug Youths

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Index 7/7 110, 153 9/11 26, 101,106, 110, 135, 137, 139, 173 A Bomb 107 Affordance areas for further research 11, 13–14, 29–30, 38, 45–6, 71–2, 91–2, 115–18, 169–70, 175–6 behaviour 2–3, 5–8, 10–14, 17, 27–30, 35–8, 44, 46, 95, 100, 111, 116, 119, 121, 142–4, 154, 157–60, 165–6, 168, 171–2, 176 burglary 19–21 capability 77–8, 101, 104, 106–7, 109–10 causation 27, 34–7 constraints 3, 9–10, 43, 53, 68–9, 111, 119, 133, 158, 173 crime facilitators 21 cyberspace 71 design 4, 6, 9–10, 24, 43–5, 47, 77–9, 82, 93, 95, 100, 129 different kinds of designed 79 discovered 79 hidden 34, 40 false 34, 37, 172 intended 43, 78–9 second-order 142–3, 166, 168, 175 socio-technical 76–8, 85, 87–91 unintended 37, 43, 78–9, 126, 173–4, 176 vicarious 34, 42, 46, 172, 176 divergent thinking 40, 160 ecology 69, 100, 102, 105–6, 111–13, 176

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ecological approach 4, 7, 17, 37–9, 45, 93, 100, 102, 117–18 environment 2–11, 13, 17–19, 21, 26, 30, 33, 37–8, 46, 53, 93–7, 99–100, 102–4, 107, 109–10, 171–4, 176 global microstructures 112, 114–17, 119, 174 human agency 34–7, 69 identity 99, 101–4, 106, 108–10, 119, 174 internet 6, 10, 52–4, 57, 68–70, 111–14, 117–18, 173 memes 99, 105–6, 109, 117–19 opportunity 1–2, 8–9, 18, 20, 22, 27–9, 34, 37–41, 44–5, 144–5, 157, 161–2, 164–5 perception 3–6, 8–9, 18–19, 26–7, 34–41, 53, 69, 93, 95–6, 100, 103–4, 106, 108, 110, 119, 138, 141, 144, 164, 166, 175 risk 21, 23, 34, 36–42, 47, 134, 145, 157, 169 temes 105–6, 109, 117–19 uses 100–1 Acceptance and Commitment Therapy 7 Afghanistan 65, 98, 139 Agent Orange 106 Ahmidan, Jamal 154 Al-Awlaki, Anwar 50, 62, 71 Al-Ikhlas 59 Al-Khurasani, Abu Dujaba 65–6 Al Qa’ida 26, 65–6, 70, 98, 137, 139, 174 Al Qa’di, Abu ‘Amru 59, 66 Al-Salim 62 Al-Suri, Abu Mus’ad 55, 62, 72 Al-Tunisi, Muhibb al-Shaykhayn 59–60

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202

INDEX

Alexander II, Czar, bombing of 75, 88–9, 91 Althusser, L. 70 Anabaptists 130 Anarchism 75, 89 ANOVA test 150 Annson, Lucy 112–13 Arab Spring 112 Armborst, A. 54 Assassination 75, 80, 85–91, 131 Assassin sect 130 Australia 122 Banks, Joseph, President of the Royal Society 160 Basayev, Shamil 139 Benford, R. D. 52 Blackmore, Susan 96, 105, 117–19 Bloom, Mia 49 Bobbitt, Philip 174 Breland, K. and Breland, M. 8, 10 Buntari (Southern Rebels) 80–1, 84–6 Brighton bombing 139, 162 California 146 Cardinal Newman College, Preston 167 Carnap, R. 12 Cathars 132 Chermak, S. 29, 44, 172 Choudhry, Roshanara 50, 71 Clarke, R. 18–19, 21–7, 31, 35, 39–40, 42, 145, 147, 164, 172 Clausewitz, von On War 1–2, 4, 13 Cognitive Behaviour Therapy 7 Communities of Practice 10, 138 Complex Adaptive Systems Theory 96, 118 computer security 123 Cornish, D. 18, 27, 29, 43, 147 Costall, A. 77–8, 93, 95, 99–100, 104, 107, 117 CRAVED 21–2 Curtis, A. 112 cyberterrorism 121–3, 125, 136 Danet, B. 40 Darwin, Charles 96 Denning, Dorothy 122 Descartes, R. 143

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Domanska, E. 76 Dorst, K. 40 Downing Street, mortar attack 139 Dr K 127 Dunbar’s number 158, 170, 175 Dunblane 160 dynamite 77, 89, 91, 172, 176 Earth Liberation Front (ELF) 124 Egypt 112–13 Emelianov, Alex Stepanovich 85 Erickson, E. H. 97, 108, 119 Erickson, Jon 126, 128, 173 Estonia 125 EVIL DONE 23, 42–3, 47, 172 Facebook 112 Farrington, David 150 Fenians 89 Ferdinand, Archduke Franz 90 Fischer, Claude 77 Fisher, G. 146 France 132 Freilich, J. 22, 29, 44, 172 Gamman, L. 40, 44 Gandhi, Mahatma 109 Garwood, J. 35–6, 39 Gaver, W. 37 gelignite 89 Germany 89 Gestalt theory 6 Giacomello, Giampiero 123, 136 Gibson, Eleanor 159 Gibson, J. J. 3, 5–9, 11–12, 14, 18–20, 26–8, 31, 33–4, 37–8, 53, 77–8, 95, 100, 107–8, 117, 119, 129, 138, 144, 157–9 Global microstructures, see Affordance, global microstructures Goffman, E. 53 hackers 121, 126–7, 129, 136, 174 hacking 62, 121–2, 125, 129, 132–3, 135, 137, 173, 174–6 H Bomb 107 Hegghammer, N. K. 143 Hezbollah 135

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INDEX

Hudson, L. 40, 160 Humphrey, N. K. 143 Hunderwadel, J. 36 Hutchby, I. 53, 69, 77–8 Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) 98–9, 101, 135 Indermaur, D. 29, 172 Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) 153–4 IRA 135, 139 Iran 111–12, 123, 135 Irwin, John 146 Islamic Awakening 55, 72 Italy 89 Jihad 54–7, 59–71, 137 Jihadi bloggers 57 Jihadism 50, 54–7, 60, 62–3, 68–72, 173, 175 Jokela High School 138 Jordan, Tim 70, 128 Jordanian intelligence 65 Jost, J. 49 Kahneman, Daniel 159 Kavkaz Centre 64 Kelly, G. 159, 163 Khalid Sheikh Mohammed 137 Kibalchich, Nikolai 89 Kiev 80 Kitchener, Lord 106 Knorr Cetina, K. 98, 110, 112, 114–17, 174 Koffka, K. 13 Kohler, W. 6, 8 Kolenkina, Maria ‘Masha’ 75, 84–7 Kovalsky, Ivan 87 Kramer, M. 54 Land and Freedom, see Zemlya i Volya Larabee, Ann 89 Lavrov, P. 79 Levy, Pierre 61 London 83, 110, 153–4 156 Lorenz, Konrad 8 Machiavelli, Niccolo 132 Macintyre, Alasdair 127–8, 138

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203

MacQuorquodale, K. 12 Madrid 154 Maitlis, Emily 112 manaˉ hij 59 Mandela, Nelson 109 Mandela, Winnie 105 manhaj 62–3 Marighella, Carlos 139 Maroochy Shire, sewage breach 122 Martinez, Guillermo 141 McGuire, W. J. 163–4 McVeigh, Timothy 154 Mednick, S. 40 Meehl, P. 12 Meenaghan, A. 145 Michael, M. 77 microglobal structures, see Affordance, global microstructures Misdeeds and Security Framework 36, 42 Moghadam, A. 49 Mohammed Siddique Khan 154 Monbiot, G. 134 Morozov, Nicholai 75, 87–8 Mubarak, Hosni, former President of Egypt 111–12 Mumbai 45, 105 Münich 110 Münster 130 MURDEROUS 24 Naji, Abu Bakr 55 Narodnaya Volya (The People’s Will) 87–9 National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, 2004 24–6, 137 necklacing 105–6 Nee, C. 145 Newman, G. 22–6, 31, 39, 42, 172 nitro-glycerine 89 Nobel, Alfred 89 Noë, A. 100, 117 Norman, D. A. 3, 9–12, 14–15, 18–20, 27–8, 34, 36–7, 53, 69, 77, 93, 103, 119, 129, 144, 157–8 Nudge, Thaler, R. and Sunstein, C. 165

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204

O’Connor, Patrick 154 Oklahoma 154 operant conditioning 27, 156 Oppenheimer, J. Robert 106–8 Osama bin Laden 137, 174 Ottoman Empire 132 Pape, R. 49 Pascale, Blaise 70 Pavlov, I. 6 Pease, K. 144–5, 170 Peoples Will, see Narodnaya Volya Perceptual Control Theory 37–8, 46 Personal Construct Theory 159 Piaget, J. 34, 45 Pickering, A. 76 PIRA 162 Plane Stupid 124 PREVENT, part of the UK’s counterterrorist strategy 71 Princip, Gavrilo 90 PFLP 139 Raein, M. 40, 44 Ramachandran, V. S. 117 Rapoport, David 75, 131 Rational Choice 27–8, 30, 147 Reed, E. S. 95–6, 117 revolvers, development of 81–4 Ross, S. 146 Roy, O. 54 Routine Activity Theory 147, 164 Sageman, Marc 49 St Petersburg 73, 81, 84, 89 Satyagraha 109 Sayyid Qutb 62 Security Service 148, 153–4 Sedgwick, M. 54 Shari’a 59 Shazad Tanweer 154 Sierra Leone 99 Simon, Leonore 148 Situational Crime Prevention (SCP) 17–19, 21–2, 26–31, 35, 38, 145, 161–2, 164–5, 171, 175 Skinner, B. F. 6–8

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INDEX

Snow, D. A. 52 South Africa 106, 111 Southern Rebels see Buntari Spain 90 Staddon, J. E. R. 7 Steinberg, M. 52 Stohl, M. 122 stuxnet 123, 135–6, 138 Syria 111–12 Tarling, R. 151 Tawhˉıd 59 Taylor, M. and Horgan, J. 98 Taylor, M. and Quayle, E. 10, 17, 52, 69 Terror Management Theory 63 theory of mind 100, 143–4 The Terrorist Struggle, pamphlet by Morozov, N. 87 Thugs 131 Timms, Stephen M. P. 50 Tinbergen, N. 8 Tolman, E. C. 6, 8 Tolstoy, L. 51 Torwalds, Linus 136 Trepov, General Feodor 73–4, 84, 86–7 Tsouli, Younes 67, 72 Turgenev, I. 79, 90–1 Tversky, Amos 159 United States of America 23–6, 90, 114 Vietnam

51, 99, 106

Waco 172 Weber, Max 110, 115–16 Webworld 111–14, 118 Weiman, G. 52, 122 Wenger, E. 107, 119, 138 White, Lyn 91 Wikstrom, P-O. 35 Wiktorowicz, Q. 49–50 Zasulich, Vera 73, 75, 84–7, 90 Zealots 130–1 Zemlya i Volya (Land and Freedom) 81, 84 Zhikharev, Senator 84 Zimbardo, P. 145

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Terrorism.indb 205

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Terrorism.indb 206

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Terrorism.indb 207

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Terrorism.indb 208

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