Social Identity Group, Human (In)Security and Counter-Insurgency/Counterterrorism: Boko Haram

Stream: Panel 48 - International Relations: Security and Violence by Non-state Actors 
Date: Tuesday, 27 September 2016
Time: 4.00 pm – 5.30 pm


This paper examines the link between human insecurity, social identity group theory, counterterrorism and Boko Haram, one of the most vicious groups to have emerged in Africa. It is argued that pervasive insecurity, which manifests itself in a person’s inability to enjoy their civil, political, economic and social rights, encourages individuals to identify with jihadi groups, as these entities feed on the anger of marginalized individuals. Therefore, using social identity group theory, the paper highlights how Boko Haram initially attracted recruits but its allure remained because of three new developments, the counterterrorism policies adopted by the Nigerian government, Boko Haram’s decision to expand its criminal activities, and, links to the Islamic State.


Isaac Kfir (Presenter), Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism
Isaac is a Research Associate at the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism, Syracuse University, From 2009 to 2016 he was a Visiting Professor of International Relations and Law at Syracuse University and prior to that he was an Assistant Professor at the Interdisciplinary Center in Israel (2006-2011). Isaac received his Ph.D. in International Relations from the London School of Economics (1999) and holds a Post-Graduate Diploma in Law and the Bar Vocational Certificate from BPP Law School (2001).