The March 11th Terrorist Network: In its weakness lies its strength

Posted in Terrorism | 22-Mar-07 | Author: José A. Rodríguez

There is a growing recognition that not only individual but also collective action is socially embedded. For a long time, research on social movements has highlighted that networks play a fundamental role in structuring their strategies and activities, but less is known so far about other collective actors, such as terrorist and insurgents groups. The terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001 and March 11th 2004 provide a clear illustration of the importance of network relational systems in shaping collective action. One of the greatest difficulties for understanding the character of these new collective actors is precisely to grasp their configuration and dynamics as networks. Dominant theoretical and methodological approaches in Sociology (focusing on individual actors and categorical groupings) are usually not well suited for this task.