Imagining Manipulative Violence: Scenario Exercises for Comprehension, Anticipation and Resilience

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review


Insurgents frequently gain support and legitimacy from robust counterinsurgent actions. A decision to act robustly may disregard such consequence and be driven by psychological bias and political factors. The purpose of ‘terrorism’ may be to elicit such decisions. Counterinsurgents need to appreciate the manipulative use of violence and its underpinning psychology. Soldiers may be the prime targets of manipulation and an understanding of the processes of such violence and the recognition of vulnerabilities together offer better anticipation of attacks as well as aiding resilient and adaptive thinking.
This first part of this paper introduces theories relevant to these coercive processes drawn from the fields of conflict studies and psychology, as well as outlining major vulnerabilities in complex conflict. The second part describes how key learning points distilled from these theories may be used to define scenarios for exercises in which participants create or counter ‘insurgent action concepts’. These activities offer participants ‘practical’ exposure to key theoretical processes, a way to build a ‘mental library’ of insurgent scenarios to support superior future decision-making and practise in rapid ‘heuristic’ decision making.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLand Warfare Conference 2010
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings
EditorsVinod Puri, Despina Filippidis
Place of PublicationEdinburgh SA
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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