An 'Alternative Sense of Reality'? The Case of Anders Breivik and the Threat of Right Wing Terrorism

Lyndsey Harris, Rachel Monaghan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Whilst many types of terrorism and terrorist activity have been subject to academic enquiry, historically the analysis of right wing terrorism has been event driven. For example, the Oklahoma bombing by Timothy McVeigh in 1995 led to a focus on the American militias, survivalists and Christian Identity movements (Crenshaw, 2000). This trend continues in light of the actions of the “lone-wolf” Norwegian terrorist, Anders Breivik. Such analysis of a single event, Crenshaw argues, distracts “researchers from studies that focus on historical developments over time” (p. 411). Thus, an evident gap still remains within the literature on terrorism. This chapter seeks to redress this deficit by offering a discussion and analysis of right wing terrorism. Additionally, it aims to place the actions of Breivik into a wider discussion of the nature of global right wing terrorism, right wing movements and ideologies. In doing so, the authors seek to challenge the populist belief that right wing terrorist actors are more likely to be lone actors or incapable of rational thought. Our discussion starts with an overview of the motivations and tactics used by Breivik, which culminated in the July 22, 2011 Oslo bombing and Utøya Island killings. We will highlight the common assumptions made about right wing terrorism and we will then seek to challenge their validity before examining the contemporary threat posed by right wing terrorism.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRadicalization, Terrorism, and Conflict
Place of PublicationNewcastle upon Tyne
PublisherCambridge Scholars Publishing
ISBN (Print)1443846171
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2013


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