Leaderless Resistance, Networked Organization, and Ideological Hegemony

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article examines various forms of "new terrorism," specifically the structure of "leaderless resistance," in connection with Robert Michels' idea of the "iron law of oligarchy." It is usually argued that "leaderless resistance" movements lack some of the typical obstacles of terrorist (and other) organizations, given their non-hierarchical and comparatively fluid natures. However, a new form of oligarchy develops in this type of movement, located in the propagation of key ideological concepts/arguments/symbols, the assigning of target preferences, and the elevation or demotion of others within the movement broadly. Rather than oligarchy forming via the material assets of organizations, an "ideational" oligarchy is created that shapes the goals of leaderless resistance movements: those leaders who are already established, and who control the means of communicating the movement's ideas to the widest audience, will impede the growth of groups and individuals within the movement that attempt to supplant their role. This article will use the examples of certain eco-terror groups (the Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation Front) to explicate this development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)655-671
Number of pages17
JournalTerrorism and Political Violence
Volume25
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013

Fingerprint

oligarchy
hegemony
resistance movement
organization
Terrorism
liberation
terrorism
Animals
Earth (planet)
Iron
Fluids
symbol
assets
Group
animal
leader
Law
lack

Keywords

  • leaderless resistance
  • Michels
  • networks
  • oligarchy
  • terrorism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Safety Research
  • Political Science and International Relations

Cite this

Leaderless Resistance, Networked Organization, and Ideological Hegemony. / Gray, Phillip W.

In: Terrorism and Political Violence, Vol. 25, No. 5, 11.2013, p. 655-671.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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