• Just War: Psychology and Terrorism

Just War: Psychology and Terrorism

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ISBN 978 1 898 059 92 9 (2007)
Cover Price: £16.00
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The invasion and occupation of Iraq by US and UK forces in March 2003 set in motion a global chain of events, from the growth of terrorist networks to the curtailment of civil liberties, from which the dust has yet to settle. The war in Iraq—seen as part of the wider ‘War on Terror’ is perhaps a watershed for the discipline of Psychology, posing uncomfortable questions for the psychological community regarding the stance adopted towards the powerful and the privileged.

This book utilises the invasion of Iraq and the ‘War on Terror’ to explore perspectives on peace, conflict and protest to deconstruct the psychological and cultural processes which support the normalisation of imperial wars. It calls for a more socially responsible psychology in the 21st century, unshackled from state interests, one which places human rights firmly at its centre. This book should appeal to lay people and readers from a wide variety of social science backgrounds – including psychology, history and international relations.



1. The Complicity of Psychology in the Security State  David Harper
2. British Psychology’s Response to the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq  Ron Roberts
3. The War on Terror: The road from Belmarsh to Guantánamo Bay  Ian Robbins
4. Torture, Psychology and the ‘War on Terror’: A human rights framework  Nimisha Patel
5. The Psychology of Anti-War Activism: 1. The British anti-war movement  John Sloboda and Brian Doherty
6. The Psychology of Anti-War Activism: 2. Building an enduring anti-war movement  John Sloboda and Brian Doherty
7. Relational Psychology in the War Speeches of Bush and Blair: Beyond ‘Us’ and ‘Them’  Steve Potter and Julie Lloyd
8. Power, Illusion and Control: Families, states and conflict  Ron Roberts
9. Children and War: Making sense of Iraq  Ron Roberts, Majda Becirevic and Harriet Tenenbaum
10. Sleepwalking into Totalitarianism: Democracy, Centre Politics and Terror  Ron Roberts
11. Deconstructing Terrorism: Politics, Language and Social Representation  Chris Hewer and Wendy Taylor
12. A Psychology for Peace?  John Sloboda, Ron Roberts and David Harper

Three essays in this book are particularly important: one on terrorism, another on the psychological effect of torture, and one that explores how a society might move from a civil democracy to a totalitarian state without protest or recognition, 'sleep-walking into totalitarianism' … timely contributions to the circumstances in which we find ourselves at the beginning of the twenty-first century. They are a call for our times … Rev. Thaddeus Birchard, Psychotherapist. Church Times, 2008.

Ron Roberts

Ron Roberts is a Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society. He has held posts at the Institute of Psychiatry, University of Westminster, King’s College Medical School, University College London, St Bartholomew’s Medical School, Kingston University and the Tavistock Institute. For several years he was a member of the British Society for Social Responsibility in Science (BSSRS) and edited and regularly contributed to their magazine 'Science for People'. He is recently (and happily) retired and freer to think outside the constraints of contemporary neoliberal academic life. His research interests include; the lure of the sex industry for students, social and collective memory and the politics of psychology. He is currently researching the concept of the off-modern and the possibilities this offers for a genuinely humane and multidisciplinary psychology. He has edited and written six books including for PCCS - Just War: Psychology and terrorism (2007), Real to Reel: Psychiatry at the cinema (2011) and with Theodor Itten, The New Politics of Experience and The Bitter Herbs (2014).   His most recent book Psychology and Capitalism (Zero Books) – though not published by PCCS is definitely worth a mention J  Besides these interests Ron has practised martial arts (kung fu) for many years.

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Ron Roberts