Kosara Stevanović

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Faculty of Political Science, Belgrade



The connection between terrorism and organized crime is one of the most prevalent threats to global security since the end of the 20th century, which is most visible in the cooperation between terrorist groups and drug trafficking groups. The main theoretical problem in the research of this relationship is how to explain the difference in the motivation for terrorism, on one hand, and organized crime, on the other. The motivation for terrorism is always ideological, and it is oriented to make some profound political and social change. On the other hand, the motivation for organized crime is material gain it derives from its illegal actions. The question that stems from this conceptual difference is – how do these groups, which are so different in their orientations and goals, manage to make successful cooperation? In this paper, the author will try to offer the answer to that question from the position of rational choice theory. From the rational choice perspective, the actors behave in such a way, which will bring them the most benefits, with as little costs as possible. Therefore, the author finds that the members of terrorist and organized crime groups also make their decisions based on the cost-benefit analysis. To test this hypothesis, the paper is primarily concentrated on deconstructing the concept of ideology and highlighting its main functions in rationalizing and motivating actors to actions. Ideology is a controversial term, its meaning varies from the set of beliefs in a general sense to a false consciousness which goal is to propel the interests of a ruling social class. Our goal here is to shed a light on these functions of ideology and to show that ideology has always been, and stayed, the tool for pursuing the interests of some social group, whether it be a ruling group or a group that represents some political minority. On the other hand, organized crime is seen as an illegal activity conducted by rational actors, to gain material benefits by using illegal methods like violence, the threat of violence, and corruption. After analyzing the concepts of ideology and organized crime, the paper highlights the nature and types of connections between terrorist and organized crime groups in reality. The author finds that both of these groups, seen as rational actors, have many reasons and interests in cooperation, like sharing knowledge and goods, as well as shared trafficking routes.



This paper explores the relationship between level of education and possibility of involment in terrorism and tries to answer the question if there is a direct corelation between these two variables. Despite the public opinion that terrorists are uneducated, numerous empirical research show exactly the opposite – that they are on average educated members of middle class. In this paper we firstly address those research that exposed high level of education of terrorists and then we are exploring theoretical explanations of those research results. After this overview, we are using rational choice theory and general strain theory to explain our thesis that there is no direct corelation between level of education and possibility of becoming a terrorist. Instead, we believe that this corelation is mediated by social and economic situation in states which are affected by terrorism. At the end of the article, instead of conclusion we are offering some recommendations that can be implemented in the education systems, and which can hopefully prevent radicalization and terrorism.