Can “jihadists” be considered rational actors? (the case of Dagestan)

Can “jihadists” be considered rational actors? (the case of Dagestan)
// Pathways to Peace and Security. 2017. no 1(52) Special Issue: ADDRESSING TERRORISM, VIOLENT EXTREMISM AND RADICALIZATION (perspectives from Russia and the United States). Edited by Ekaterina Stepanova,. P. 91-105


DOI: 10.20542/2307-1494-2017-1-91-105


Abstract

This article analyzes the applicability of rational choice theory to the choice of violent jihad as a way of life. What are jihadists driven by: sacred values or estimation of costs and benefits? Using the example of Dagestan as the most islamicized republic of the North Caucasus, the role of rational considerations is explored at two levels: first, in choosing Islamic fundamentalism among all available ideologies; second, in choosing between more moderate forms of Islamic fundamentalism and its more radical version that accepts and employs violence. The author concludes that rational considerations do not provide an exhaustive explanation of such a choice, but play an important role in making it.


Keywords

rational choice, costs and benefits, anomie, jihadism, Islamic fundamentalism, Islam and Islamism in Dagestan


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For citation:

Starodubrovskaya I. Can “jihadists” be considered rational actors? (the case of Dagestan). Pathways to Peace and Security, 2017, no 1(52) Special Issue: ADDRESSING TERRORISM, VIOLENT EXTREMISM AND RADICALIZATION (perspectives from Russia and the United States). Edited by Ekaterina Stepanova,, pp. 91-105. DOI: 10.20542/2307-1494-2017-1-91-105