‘The Bogeyman’

The Story of a Political Soldier and Elements for the Sociology of Terrorism

ABSTRACT: The story of former Neo-Fascist terrorist Pierluigi Concutelli has attracted attention on account of his recently published memoirs. In Italy’s terrorist nebula of the seventies, he is a secondary figure. It was not until after he was meted out a life sentence for the murder of a judge that he acquired a sinister fame as an implacable jail executioner. Concutelli matters. Not only do his vicissitudes afford a glimpse into the abyss, yet they also shed light on an important trajectory.  The trajectory, i.e., that leads what appear “normal” individuals into extreme violence.

This essay draws on Concutelli’s biography to propose a model general outline of the psycho-sociological profile of terrorism’s gestational field. In sum, the findings are that, psychologically, the subject is from a green age possessed of a monastic yearning. This yearning, coupled with the fascination for weapons and the “seduction” of violence, conceals more often than not a thirst for self-destruction. Sociologically, terrorist militancy appears to follow a gradual process, whereby the eventual dissolution of the zealot’s original grassroots organization is generally the precipitating factor leading him/her to join the germane underground militarized cell. And the speed of such a progression is inevitably dictated by the political game that is being played at the highest reaches of society.


In Journal for the Study of Radicalism, Vol. 7 n. 1 (2013): 109-127


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