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Terrorism as Social Class Phenomenon

January 1, 2010 by and tagged , , ,

Via Lambert over at Corrente, NYCWeboy (who should be on everyone’s regular reading list) has a point:

Terrorism as luxury problem… funny how that is hardly ever discussed.. because it’s assumed that the behavior of the upper-middle classes are the norm and if what they do is the subject of terrorist threats, then, that means America is under terrorist threat.

It is the beauty of social privileges to be taken seriously. What threatens you is a serious threat that deserves the full resources of the state.

And as for the potential terrorists themselves? Not peasants picked up on the mountains of Afghanistan. Nope, often, Europe-educated engineers from wealthy families from various parts of the Middle East or from immigrant background in Europe.

Besides, most of the trappings of the surveillance society are directed at the lower classes or higher classes but mostly as consumers (as Lyon and Wacquant have repeatedly shown).

Posted in Social Privilege, Social Stratification, Sociology, Terrorism | 6 Comments »



6 Responses to “Terrorism as Social Class Phenomenon”

  1.   Dangger Says:

    I don’t think this argument would hold to scrutiny. While terrorism might be a luxury problem in some areas like flights, it is also very “real” in lower working classes since they get drafted and so on, or they have to look after family members with PTSD or disabilities.

    The measures taken are also an international problem for many poor nations like Afghanistan and Iraq and soon some others (Nigeria? or Iran?) where it affects equally all classes, perhaps more the ones that were unable to flee the country when the invasions started.

    Reply

    •   SocProf Says:

      @Dangger,
      These are all excellent points… the social class of who gets threatened (and taken seriously) by terrorism is different than the social class of those who get to fight the “war on terror.”

      But I think part of the point that Weboy makes is “who is worth protecting?” and that is definitely a social class issue. The US is willing to expend the lives of its soldiers (mostly lower class and heavily racial and ethnic minorities) in order to protect higher classes.

      I would also argue that upper classes in Afghanistan or Iraq are still more protected than the general population from the risks (in Beck’s sense) of invasion and war. They might have assets abroad and may leave the country for a while until things settles.

      In this case, then, as Castells argues, whoever is globally mobile is better off than those who are “stuck”.

      Reply

  2.   weboy Says:

    Thanks for the link! :)

    Reply

  3.   Emmanuel Paul Says:

    Am a 300 level student In the Univeristy Of Uyo, Akwa Ibom state. Nigeria
    I love my course even though there are some challenges beyond my insight but i believe God for a miracle through out my stay in school.

    the functional prerequisit of sociology to finding solutions to the problems of the nigeria society is my heartbeat. i have a cause to fight and i will fight for the peace to remain in my nation. That my society need be sustained and the environment preserved for the future and that we all must submit to the natural attraction of peace. thanks

    Reply

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