News archive 2004
Strategic Terror and Amateur Psychology27 Apr 2004, PR 21/04
Sir Lawrence Freedman, Professor of War Studies and Vice Principal (Research) at King’s College London will give a prestigious lecture entitled Strategic Terror and Amateur Psychology at 17.30, Wednesday April 28, 2004 at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, De Crespigny Park, London, SE5 9PJ.
In his lecture he describes terrorism as a two-stage process: first deliberate acts of violence, or threats of violence that produce the psychological effect of terror. Second this terror must be turned into changes in the target’s attitudes and behaviour. He argues that while this process can regularly be seen at work at a tactical level, in relatively small-scale encounters, at the strategic level terror normally fails. He explores the history of strategic terror from the 18th Century Reign of Terror in France, through 19th Century anarchism, 20th Century strategic air war and on to 21st international terrorism, drawing attention to the dubious psychological assumptions on which these campaigns were launched.
The lecture concerns the capacity of politically motivated groups to induce such terror that governments accept their policies must change in order to achieve relief for the people.
Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman KCMG CBE FBA FKC joined King's in 1982 and was Head of the new School of Social Science & Public Policy from 2001 to 2003. He is one of the country's foremost defence experts and was appointed Official Historian of the Falklands Campaign in 1997.
He writes widely and his books include The Gulf War Conflict 1990-91, The Politics of British Defence and Kennedy's Wars: Berlin, Cuba, Laos and Vietnam and a recently edited book on Superterrorism. He is a frequent commentator in the media and writes occasional columns for the Financial Times and the Independent.
Notes to editors
King's College London
King’s is one of the oldest and largest colleges of the University of London with 13,800 undergraduate students and some 5,300 postgraduates in ten schools of study. The College had 24 of its subject-areas awarded the highest rating of 5* and 5 for research quality, demonstrating excellence at an international level. King’s is in the top group of five universities for research earnings with income from grants and contracts of more than £93 million (2002-2003) and has an annual turnover of £320 million. King’s is a member of the Russell Group, a coalition of the UK’s major research-based universities.
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