NAME: MAITUMELO MIGHTY FANYANA
STUDENT ID: 201102397
CJS 423 INDIVIDUAL RESEARCH ESSAY
LECTURER: K.T.O MASHAKA
QUESTION 2: WHAT IS THE USEFULNESS OF THE STRUCTURE AGENCY DEBATE IN THE UNDERSTANDING AND POLICING OF THE GLOBAL TERRORIST THREAT . USE CONCRETE EXAMPLES TO DEVELOP YOUR DISCUSSION
SUBMISSION DATE: 9 MAY 2018
The structure agency debate can be understood in the context of socialization against autonomy to determine if an individual acts according to their free will or there is an influence of social structure behind their actions. The structure agency debate is related to the issue at the core of both classical and contemporary sociological theories. It tries to establish what the social world is made of, its causes and effects and establish if social structures determine the behavior of individuals and whether this behavior emanate from an individual agency, that is individuals are behaving in a particular manner because they made a choice to do so. There is a possibility of establishing three main important points in the structure agency debate which are namely that there are some branches of sociology such as functionalism, structuralism and Marxism who points out that social structure determines social life and individuals actions are a result of social structure. There are other branches of sociology who reverse this view and put more emphasis on the idea that individuals are able to reshape and redefine their world. This views are of approaches such as phenomenological sociology and also ethnomethodology and symbolic interactionism. These proponents stresses that there is need to give explanations for social phenomena which provide a reflection of the views of the individuals that are being studied. There are other approaches who emphasis that structure and agency complements each other. According to their views the social structure influences human actions and also human actions are also capable of influencing the social structure.
THE USEFULNESS OF THE STRUCTURE AGENCY DEBATE IN THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE GLOBAL TERRORIST THREAT
Law enforcement globally are focusing on how global terrorist threat are manifesting itself among communities. If violence spread to new regions, this impacts communities, sparks radicalization and will eventually lead to violence. A number of terrorist attacks have taken place in countries around the world and few examples are mentioned below.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 9 11 ATTACKS
On the 11th September 2001, 19 militants who are associated with the Islamic Extremists group well known as Al Qaeda hijacked four planes and carried out suicide attacks against the United States Of America. “Of the four planes, two of them were flown into the twin towers in New York of the World trade center, another one was flown and hit the pentagon outside Washington, and the last plane crushed in Pennsylvania in a field” CITATION Coa06 l 1033 (Coaffee & Wood, 2006). More than 3000 people were killed and there was an urgent need to develop initiatives to curb terrorism
Afghanistan’s Ghazni Province Terror Attacks
The Taliban are a hardcore movement based in Afghanistan and Pakistan. “They attacked the south eastern part of Afghanistan known as the Ghazni and fourteen people were killed during this attacks and among them is the governor” CITATION Cha03 l 1033 (Chalk ; Rosenau, 2003). The fighters attacked the police and district headquarters. The fighting went on for atleast three hours until new troups were deployed and the Taliban ran away. At least five people were injured during these attacks and the Talibans were using heavy weapons. All casualities were reported to be military forces.
There has been a tremendous growth of the terrorist threat in the whole world. This occurred due to transformation and the convergence of the terrorist groups. The structure agency debate plays a very useful role in understanding the structure and operations of terrorist groups that poses a global terrorist threat. “This growth has made it difficult and more complex to understand the global terrorist threat” CITATION Jen14 l 1033 (Jenkins, Liepman, ; Willis, 2014). Terrorist groups that poses this threat have shown an increased similarity in their operational and organizational characteristics. At times this terrorist groups work with one another. Generally there is an increase in terms of agreements regarding the factors that influence this global terrorist threat. When looking at the terrorist organizations, they are made of a hierarchical structure. “Al Qaeda was formed and led by an Islamic extremist known as Osama Bin Laden” CITATION Wal12 l 1033 (Walker, 2012). Therefore terrorists form a hierarchical structure with a chain of command. In this case individual actions are a result of the social structure which is a terrorist group which they find themselves in. Individuals are not acting according to their own free will and decision are commanded to act in a particular way. During the 911 attacks the suicide bombers were carrying out the mission of the Al Qaeda group which means that not the individual motivations are imposers of the global terrorist threat.
The structure agency debate divert focus to the degree in which the global terrorist threat correlates with the societal structures and individual actions. The structure agency debate helps to focus on establishing the causes, motivations and modus operandi of terrorist groups. Individuals of terrorist groups are socialized into the aggressive nature of terrorist and sent on to carry out missions of the terrorist groups. “Terrorists most often the time are a group of militants who are opposing the government and want to throw it over” CITATION Chr16 l 1033 (Christenden ; Laegrid, 2016). They mostly rebel against the government and calls for a new leadership. They are often found as a group in a particular state but may communicate with other agents in different states. This groups have a centralized system where command are passed from to the subordinates and they often form a similar religious group. “Individuals are socialized to carry out the group mission and vision and also there are other individuals who operate on their own to carry out terrorist attacks” CITATION Dre04 l 1033 (Drew, 2004). Terrorist groups often operate through juniors in their organizations who are deployed to carry out these missions. These individuals are often trained to be able to able to give up their lives for the sake of the organization and are prompted to have the spirit of sovereignty for their groups.
Terrorist groups have a functional bases, centralized command and also have leadership that support terrorist activities abroad. “The structure agency debate plays a major important role as it seeks explainations why people behave in certain ways and how they come to operate in that particular manner because when looking at terrorist groups it is clear that individual do not act according to their own will but there is a form of control in their organizations CITATION Wen16 l 1033 (Wensink & Wittendorp, 2016). An example is that Al Qaeda has been deemed as the most powerful terrorist organization ever in history and its organizational sophistication and its dependence on territorial safe havens because terrorist groups often are fighting for territorial dominance.
These centralized leadership of terrorist groups and the hierarchical structure allows these organizations to carry out sophisticated attacks which will leave a great impact on the targeted state. “Most often the laymen in the terrorist groups carry out the attacks while the main base remains hidden and protected” CITATION Car06 l 1033 (Carter, 2006). The structure agency debate poses an important phenomena of establishing forces behind individual behaviours because individuals of the terrorist groups are socialized to be hard core terrorists and their actions are exactly what they were instructed to do by the central command. The social structure of terrorist groups influence their actions but not their individual agency and also the fact that terrorist attacks require resources such as money to buy equipment for the attacks which individuals on their own cannot be able to raise most of the time because sophisticated machinery, equipment and arms and weapons
THE USEFULNESS OF THE STRUCTURE AGENCY DEBATE IN POLICING GLOBAL TERRORIST GROUP
A global war on terrorism is putting a pressure on the financial support to terror groups. In order to bypass these strategies terror groups are now moving into the deep arena of organized criminal activities. This brings about a major challenge to states which are struggling with this threat that has changed enormously. “As terror groups move into hybrid criminal entities and also partner with other criminal syndicates the threat to nations rise in terms of complexity, and demands a highly flexible and tailored response” CITATION Buc04 l 1033 (Bucholz, 2004). For an effective policing of the global terrorist threat it is important to consider the structure agency debate and its relationship in explaining the global terrorist threat.
The law enforcement first of all needs to consider the structure of terrorist groups. This means that the law enforcement needs to determine how this groups are organized in order to formulate a strategy that can help the law enforcement to break into this terrorist groups. “Terrorist groups are organized in a hierarchical structure therefore the law enforcement needs to target the leadership of these terrorist as they are the strong force that holds the terrorist organization together” CITATION San04 l 1033 (Sanderson, 2004). For example for the United States of America to bring down and police Al Qaeda Terrorist group they had to target its leader Osama Bin Laden and assassinate him and that is when the Al Qaeda group was weakened. Terrorists form a strong form that maybe in one particular country with a common base therefore the structure agency debate plays an important role as it gives the law enforcement a picture how and why certain activities takes place.
The structure agency debate also tries to highlight the modus operandi of individuals. If an individual acts in a certain manner the question is are they acting autonomously or there is a force behind their actions. “Law enforcement agencies needs to establish the modus operandi of terrorist groups in order to develop the necessary strategies that will curb permanently these activities of terrorist groups” CITATION Dea09 l 1033 (Dearing, 2009). The structure agency debate is useful as it gives law enforcement agencies a platform to establish this methods of operating before formulating combating strategies. With the knowledge of how terrorist groups operate it becomes much easy to police them because then their strengths and weaknesses will be identified and their weaknesses will be targeted. An example maybe the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Afghanistan police needs to identify how the Taliban operate and certain areas where they are weak then targets those weaknesses.
It is also important for the law enforcement to establish where the soldiers of terrorist groups come from. This means their background in terms of family, communities and cultural background. With this information the police can be able to know and understand how these militaries were socialized in life. For example if the terrorist individuals come from a society or community that is against the government that is ruling in that country, then there is a high likelihood that as men grow up in that community they may join terrorist groups in order to help fight in overthrowing their government. “The cultural backgrounds are also important because terrorist groups believe that their culture is more superior than other therefore may force other people to join their groups and will always want to convert people to their religious beliefs” CITATION Wax10 l 1033 (Waxman, 2010). The structure agency debates provide many sociological explanations to individual behaviours therefore it is of much importance for law enforcement authorities to take to test these explanations in order to establish the true motivations of individual behaviours.
Policing global terrorist threat requires a steadfast look at the structure agency debate as it provides a pivotal argument in policing global terrorist threat. Terrorist groups can funded by political personnel among the country who may be against the President at the time. This means that the law enforcement needs to address issues such as corruption by top officials who sponsor terrorist groups in a quest to destroy the government. “Law enforcement authorities’ needs to establish the sources of funds for these terrorist groups and then follow the trail to the major source of funds and start policing from them” CITATION Dea09 l 1033 (Dearing, 2009). Most of the times it is difficult to police terrorist groups which are sponsored by top politicians because, the top politicians are the ones who determine what the law enforcement do and what they are not supposed to do. The other thing relates to the fact that law enforcement are funded by politicians who may decide to withdraw funding in order to make it impossible for law enforcement to carry out their activities, there by leaving the world facing a global terrorist threat that may manifest anytime. The law enforcement needs to establish the survival tactics of terrorist groups and try by all means to destroy these paths of survival by terrorist groups.
Terrorist groups may have other agents in other countries whom they communicate with therefore it is a call upon the law enforcement agencies to ensure that they uncover every track of terrorist groups and police effectively the whole group of terrorist groups. “Individuals who acts on their own to carry out terrorist group also needs to be policed” CITATION Car06 l 1033 (Carter, 2006). This is often easier than policing the whole group because once an individual is caught then terrorism cannot be carried out other than where there is a group of terrorists and a need to police the whole group. Individuals needs to be assessed as to the kind of family where they come from and the societies in which they grew in. Individual terrorists pursue their own personal interests and they needs to be totally removed in order to save the whole world. “Most times this individuals comes from dysfunctional families and are harbouring emotions such as anger and aggression” CITATION Buc04 l 1033 (Bucholz, 2004). This are the type of things that the law enforcement needs to take into account when policing the global terrorist threat.
In conclusion, the structure agency debate plays a pivotal role in policing the global terrorist threat. It is a sociological term that prompts one to look at the influences of certain behaviours whether they are individual choices or the individual behavior is a result of the society influences. For a better understanding of the global terrorist threat it is important to understand why this terrorist attacks are carried out and the basis of these attacks. Different individual acts based on different motivations. Some individuals are coming from Marxist societies who believe that men are superior than women and if it happens that a woman comes into power, terrorist attacks maybe launched because they see women as being incapable of being in leadership positions. Therefore this are the things that the structure agency debate emphasis in role to provide an understanding of the global terrorist threat. In policing global terrorist threat it is very important for the law enforcement agencies to consider the structure, modus operandi and the influences of terrorist groups. Different terrorist groups have different missions to carry out therefore, the law enforcement needs to establish the true motives and reasons for these terrorist attacks. Terrorist attacks attack all countries in the world even if it is not happening in the same country. An example that could be used is the fact that the 911 attacks in the United States Of America affected Botswana tremendously, this includes the terrorism sector and the aviation industry as most terrorists come from the United States Of America and come by air transport.
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