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The Essential Ellen Willis$
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Ellen Willis and Nona Willis Aronowitz

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780816681204

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816681204.001.0001

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The Mass Psychology of Terrorism

The Mass Psychology of Terrorism

(p.405) The Mass Psychology of Terrorism
The Essential Ellen Willis

Nona Willis Aronowitz

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter examines the psychopathology of terrorism in the wake of 9/11. In particular, she observes that psychopathology drives Islamic fundamentalism, and that anyone motivated to kill for a promise of penetrating virgins in heaven has taken sexual repression to its logical conclusion. The Twin Towers are said to have symbolized the forces of modernity in general and global capitalism in particular. Yet oddly, it has been more or less ignored that the towers were also and quite obviously sexual symbols. The chapter argues that the particular kind of crisis Islamic fundamentalism represents erupts when economic and geopolitical issues converge with cultural and psychosexual conflict. It also proposes a serious long-range strategy against Islamic fundamentalist terrorism that entails open and emphatic opposition to theocracy, to authoritarian religious movements (including messianic Jewish fundamentalists in Israel and the West Bank), and to the subjugation of women.

Keywords:   psychopathology, terrorism, 9/11, Islamic fundamentalism, Twin Towers, modernity, capitalism, theocracy, religious movements, women

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