Macquarie University
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Radicalization and de-radicalization: the Tamil Tiger case study

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posted on 2022-03-28, 18:18 authored by Malkanthi Hettiarachchi
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) radicalized and mobilized its members to conduct some of the most lethal attacks on civilian, political, economic, religious, cultural and security targets to achieve a separate state. This study explores the LTTE's method of radicalizing civilians into violence, so that counter radicalization efforts can focus on reversing this process of radicalization . While terrorism research has focused on identifying causative factors that contribute to radicalization, this study aims to identify the components actively manipulated by the LTTE in the process of grooming civilians into violence. The review of literature identified seven such essential components: a grievance narrative, loss of significance, an organization to network, an ideology , shift in roles and images, moral justification of violence, and self - efficacy. Seven hypotheses were formulated to assess these components , using psychometric tools and an interview schedule with ninety participants. Surveys and interviews were conducted with rehabilitated former members of the LTTE (suicide and other units ), their family and the Tamil diaspora , to obtain their unique insights into the radicalization process. T he findings support the hypotheses that each identified component contributed to the process of radicalization into violence. No single component was sufficient , but a combination of these facilitated the individual to develop the skill to conduct attacks with confidence . The LTTE was pivotal in driving this process by manipulating the narratives of grievance, providing the opportunity to restore significance, establishing a morally justified ideology of violence, and projecting an image of being the victim as well as the rescuer . Concurrently, the LTTE was driving fear into the Sinhala and Muslim communities , while t raining its members to mobilize with confidence , in the belief that they were working for fair and just organization that was helping to redress their grievances through the only morally justifiable means available, viz. violence.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction -- Chapter 2. Literature review -- Chapter 3. Methodology -- Chapter 4. Quantitative data analysis -- Chapter 5. Results and discussion -- Chapter 7. Conclusion.


Bibliography: pages 259-282 Theoretical thesis.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Security Studies and Criminology

Department, Centre or School

Department of Security Studies and Criminology

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Dalbir Ahlawa


Copyright Malkanthi Hettiarachchi 2017. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (xiv, 343 pages)

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