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Under Threat. Lay Thinking about Terrorism and the Three Dimensional Model of Personal Involvement : A Social Psychological Analysis

Abstract : After distinguishing between acts of terrorism and terrorist risk from a social psychological perspective, this paper focuses on the lay thinking about terrorism. We suggest an analysis carried out at the ideological/positional level of explanation, as opposed to the intra/interindividual level. This analysis is based on the Theory of Social Representations and its specific methodologies. It is supported by an empirical study completed on the airports of Marseilles-Provence (France) and Boston-Logan (United States). The study compared the lay thinking about terrorism among participants who had different levels of anti-terrorism practice (French safety officers vs. French passengers) and of personal involvement (US vs. French passengers). The social representation of safety officers had a more practical orientation. In contrast, for passengers, the lay thinking about terrorism was normative in nature and displayed a salient affective component. Moreover, in the group of US passengers, who reported higher scores of personal involvement, the element 'Muslims' appeared as central for defining terrorism. These empirical results illustrated a theoretical proposal according to which, in conflict, threat, or crisis situations, and in the absence of practice, high personal involvement may favour the expression of lay thinking through a more narrow, radical, collective and mobilising form, the nexus, rather than through social representations.
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https://hal-univ-paris10.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01473305
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Submitted on : Tuesday, February 21, 2017 - 4:58:01 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - 11:50:15 AM

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  • HAL Id : hal-01473305, version 1

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Andreea Ernst-Vintila, Sylvain Delouvée, Christine Roland-Levy. Under Threat. Lay Thinking about Terrorism and the Three Dimensional Model of Personal Involvement : A Social Psychological Analysis. Journal of Risk Research, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2011, 13 (3), pp.297-325. ⟨hal-01473305⟩

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