Keywords: rct theory criminology, logical choice theory literature
Before I get started on my analytical review of the determined article, I firstly, feel that it is crucial to format and specify what an analytical framework is and what it includes. Because of the nature of the topic were assessing, that being 'social knowledge', it is clear that experts have to contend with many different parameters from different theoretical standpoints to the huge differing ideological paradigms of the subject. If a report does not own a proposed analytical framework within its main body of writing, it will often be criticised for being extremely descriptive and lacking a precise analysis, thus indicating the educational work will lack clear concentrate and suffer from being hazy.
Secondly, analytical frameworks are many and varied, some utilise observable simple fact within culture from corporations such as family, education and their state. These are ideal if the researcher intends on gathering facts from that particular organization, allowing the researcher test their hypothesis of Y impacts X etc. However many analytical frameworks within the communal sciences are usually intertwined to key intellectual ideas; included in these are areas such as Marxism, Rational choice and Network theory. Analysts using these kind of framework enable a focused document, which adopts a particular intellectual theory and systematically evaluates it to the chosen issue area from that standpoint.
All analytical frameworks do show one particular development whether it's assessing ideologies or the many establishments, their first initial process is to mobilise the intellectual methodology through your body of literature. Furthermore this analytical platform must be chosen with careful consideration by academics, as of their chosen framework there will contain theorists who talk about similar views on that one concern. E. g. Rational choice theorists assume that we make selections based after our personal inclination, having theorists support your debate raises validity and strengthens framework of your debate, thus letting you raise particular questions such as 'is there rationality of radical Islam?' In a nutshell these frameworks contain a couple of intellectual tools that guide the researcher through his/her research for example, how to collect, type, and interpret the results found, naturally guiding is not the sole software within the theoretical construction but it addittionally has close links with this sub-questions asked within that theory.
Firstly, an important information to reference point about this article, is the subject of this article itself 'The Rationality of Radical Islam' this shows an obvious sign of the authors analytical standpoint The usage of 'Rationality' within the title shows that Wiktoro & Kaltenhaler are going for a Rational Choice point of view approach within this article. Before I get started on discovering how Wiktoros has used this rational choice theory to terrorism, it's important to handle what logical choice theory really is and its assumptions.
Throughout much of the european hemisphere in the first part of the 21st century, we have witnessed a move in the manner we analyse individual behaviour. This switch was most importantly partly because of the emergence of RCT which includes been dominating within economics but has pass on to other disciplines. This Rational choice theory includes three independent ideas at its central including 'cultural choice theory, game theory and economics. Essentially RCT is really three things at the same time, because not only will it have got a logical composition to which many utilize it as a simple ideology to theorising. But it is both a normative & empirical method of investigation into the activities and behaviours of the individual.
RCTs primary underlying focus starts with the clear acknowledgment of the average person, not the relationship between several individuals. RCT would therefore advocate a minimalist status which is merely used for preserving individual liberties and non invasive on the average person. Furthermore RCT is also concerned with the explanation of all interpersonal phenomenons within contemporary society whether it be conforming, or deviant acts, it views humans as 'logical creatures' so this means there are computed mental process that exist within our choices. Because logical choice comes from economics it acknowledges all interpersonal exchanges are like this of economic exchanges to which 'an acting professional will choose an action rationally, based on a hierarchy of choices, that promises to maximize benefits and minimize costs' (Zey 1998 p. 2) these basic premises of humans, portray that our decisions are reared towards the sole aim of profit or pleasure.
This article explores the 'The Rationality of Radical Islam' it specifically asks the question 'Why do Islamist radicals take part in high-cost/risk activism' (Wiktorowicz 2006 p. 296) and the bonuses behind it. This particular analytical framework is perfect to use as, terrorism throughout the overall population is widely considered highly irrational, especially in the case of Jihadist terrorism, as how will you sacrifice yourself and others for a larger good? The reason why many see terrorists and their sympathizers as irrational is due to that their values are so improbable and dogmatic, (Wiktorowicz, cited 2004 in Caplan, 2006 p. 97) and what factual proof do Jihadist terrorists have for gaining a place directly into paradise where they can enjoy the company of 72 virgins? We foresee this 'certain' procedure as being nothing more than plain foolish, due to the dependency on notion. However Wiktrorowicz thinks that people cannot judge an action like this, as irrational simply because we don't agree with it, and if the individual is optimizing their top inclination then they are performing rationally (Wiktorowicz 2006 p. 300).
The second major point tackled by these two authors, is the evaluation on the various bonuses terrorist organisations offer, as all communities 'proffers its ideology as an efficient path to salvation, which functions as a heuristic device for in-doctrinal stars to weigh the expenses & benefits of certain behavior' (Wiktorowicz 2006 p. 301). Quite simply most organisations don't offer 'material or worldly goods' which by traditional western culture will not reflect financial or personal profit for the average person, but it shows that spiritual good tend to be more important for some. But there exists proof that those who joined up with Algeria's armed Islamic groups thought we would achieve this task to benefit economically from insurgency, such as smuggling (wiktorowicz 2006 p. 302).
Referring back to the prior point, a case study raised in this article was on the 'Al-Muhajiroun' which became a popular group throughout the united kingdom, but after the disorders on 9/11 the British talk about condemned the group for expressing radical views. However during its time this research study offers a perfect exemplory case of payoffs, as the Al-Muhajiron only offered religious payoffs for such a high risk activity, many in this group 'seen activism and even risk itself as means to achieve salvation and access to paradise' (Wiktorowicz 2006 p. 302). These points articulate that RCT doesn't provide an explanation of inclination formation, but explains a technique of choices under a set of ordered choices (Wiktorowicz 2006 p. 302) so RCT is not worried about why individuals prioritise terrorism to the top of the list but it just would like to comprehend why we rationally choose to take action highly illegitimate and dangerous.
Lastly Bruce Hoffman when it comes to rationality of terrorism defines 'terrorism as the deliberate creation and exploitation of dread through assault or the risk of violence in the quest for politics change. All terrorist functions involve assault or the risk of assault. ' (Hoffman 1998) his use of literature such as 'deliberate' & 'creation' backs up the quarrels of Wiktorowicz that terrorists pre-plan and put together every step of terrorism, this could be in conditions of registering for Jihadist disorders or the prep of bombs, the terrorists know what they may be doing and gladly do it pursuing their own personal interest no matter what.
Delving in to the theoretical underpinnings of the article, I firstly, came across within the books a reference to Mother Teresa where she advocated that religious beliefs was self-sacrificial and wasn't encouraged by external rewards (Wiktorowicz 2006 p. 302). This has 1 of 2 benefits; one the use of a similar theorist strengthens Wiktorowicz's argument, as the author is acknowledging a rationale in the theory that materials goods aren't the only driving a car force of a person. And secondly, within this article by Kwilecki & Wilson we can see a clear running theme for RCT just as the starting abstract they state that 'this newspaper applies logical choice to the religious beliefs of Mom Teresa' (Kwilecki 2000 p. 205).
Lastly, upon viewing Wiktorowicz's endnote system, we can easily see the material they used to guide and guide their analysis is heavily interlinked to the analytical construction of RCT, such as 'the economical approach to individuals behavior' & 'an benefits to logical choice' by Jon Estler evidently shows that the theoretical underpinnings all indicate a RCT point of view methodology and has been applied to this issue of terrorism.
With RCT being truly a major ideological contender within the sociable science world within the last six years, there is now a huge library of literature attacking and defending RCT and is currently still growing. To get started I want to discuss the benefits of this particular methodology in general. First of all, RCT has survived this long because of its genuine fundamental advantages e. g. 'rationality accords with good sense using simple settings. For example, consider a choice between $5 and $10, no strings fastened. ' (Herrnstein 1990 p. 357) On this basis of behaviour, we would always choose the larger amount of cash no matter what, so in a sense arguing against RCT is similar to arguing against the principal of indisputable fact and against common sense generally.
Second, the utter power of the theory can be an undisputable strength of its own, as it has manifested itself into all disciplines that examine behavior from political idea to the behaviourism in mindset; it is hard to critique such a coherent platform. So it is 'generality' quite simply allows assumptions to be put into a multitude of topic areas, without them being splintered into a mix of complicated sub-theories. This common deductive foundation detaches them from other main theories as by lowering the region of disagreement it can work much more effectively.
Before 9/11 investigations into terrorist skin cells were little, so too were activities regarding anti-terrorism. However after the attacks on the planet Trade Centre in New York, we witnessed a significant influx with both participants in high risk activities as well as counter terrorism agencies investigating these radical motives. A very important factor is clear in terms of terrorism is the fact that RCT has exposed radical movements who were 'previously described as unflappable, ideological zealots stuck by rigid adherence to dogma, are actually regarded as tactical thinkers. '(Wiktorowicz 2005 p. 13) This process breathes life into the review of terrorist's activities and how to counteract such activities e. g. 'Deterrence', there is little question that old-fashioned deterrence reduces the amount of terrorism, and in theory increasing the chance and severity of being caught also needs to continue steadily to drop the total amount of folks who adopt radical values.
Secondly shifting to the general criticisms of this theory, which has seen a wide range of cases made against it, for example RCT cannot explain the existence of varied communal phenomenon's such as trust, reciprocity and especially charity, such as such organisations the people will be the ones benefitting from the individuals activities, and the individual isn't rationally choosing to increase their personal benefits. Furthermore in terms of the individual's alternatives, it is safe to state that folks do not own all knowledge and information on everything & anything, so essentially humans count on heuristics to guide our thought procedures which essentially intelligent guesswork.
This limitation can also go further into the idea that in culture today and even in the past, people's selections are constrained by the many social organizations of society 'the modal specific will find his / her actions checked from labor and birth to loss of life by familial and institution rules; laws and regulations and ordinances'(Freidman 1991 p. 208). Continuing on from the last point it's seems clear that it is not merely institutions & structures holding individuals back again, but the stresses of so called 'appropriate' behaviour as these communal norms are essentially a hurdle to the pursuit of self-interest. Last but not least on the overall criticisms towards RCT I'd like to discuss a spot elevated in the publication by Paul Anard who published 'if rationality is about consistency, including logical consistency, then human agents can't be considered rational in a full sense. ' (Anard 2002 p. 22) This quote articulates an extremely interesting standpoint against the essential underpinnings of this theory as if RCT states we could so rational at heart & body then why do we have inconsistencies of thoughts, and just why are these behaviours such a common occurrence within our society.
A weakness RCT has with regards to terrorism is that RCT generally functions in a post-hoc manner where research workers usually examine earlier precedents to rationalise and anticipate similar event of the future, (Lindauer 2012 p. 8) but in the area of terrorism this isn't a good idea, as you terrorism is irrational that mathematically people cannot always predict events and second of all, if a mistake was to be produced the results could be destructive and distressing as people's lives are in risk.
As discussed recently within this essay, RCT has a higher number of loyal followers and a wide literature on all things, so as RCT is targeted upon behaviour, it offers made important inroads to other theme areas not just the study of terrorism. One key area RCT is dominant in, is the reduced turnout rate within elections. RCT expresses that 'turnout is, for many people most of the time, a low-cost, low-benefit action. ' (Aldrich 1993 p. 261) so will always suffer from. This theory has been the backbone of reform and incentives to revert voter apathy and re-engage people back into politics. For instance it is important for a political campaign to summarize what benefits it has on the individual causing it to be always a high advantage action.
Secondly RCT is dominant within criminology and the rationality of criminals, this theme is similar to terrorism according that, RCT argues 'the decision to commit an criminal offense is negatively related to the perceived costs of offense and favorably related to the recognized rewards of crime' (Nagin 1993 p. 479) thus indicating there's a rational mental process taking place within the average person before a offense is committed. Like petty criminal offense is often dedicated during the night or during silent time as criminals mentally calculate the huge benefits, such as they'll be less inclined to be disturbed or be seen committing a criminal offense. RCT creates an excellent overview to the behaviours of criminal offense and the individuals within it.
In realization the analytical platform utilised within this article of terrorism permits an in depth and unique perspective on why individuals choose to commit terrorist activities. The author's use of case studies support the RCT theory, adding not only depth but resting out clear empirical evidence of Rational choice for the reader to ponder. Because RCT is a 'more coherent group defined by an extremely clear strategy (Burnham 2008 p. 26) allows the idea to be implemented into other areas. To give an example, the rationality within committing criminal offenses can be straight compared and contrasted towards terrorism interlinking the mental process that go along with it, thus in turn creating a powerful theory of examination which includes much books and backing. Lastly, concluding with my applying for grants using an analytical framework within academics research. Personally i think using a framework is crucial to be able obtain an article that contains structural rigour. Learning a topic area can be considered a intimidating task especially an extremely broad subject matter like many in the sociable sciences, but using an analytical platform can help breakdown this issue of your decision assisting you research, collect & present your results into a coherent argument. Furthermore with out a set framework the article will attempt to answer more questions than it can answer so that it is a weakened descriptive academic good article.
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