What is often called ‘Lone wolf’ terrorism, but is better understood as ‘self- directed’ terrorism (for reasons explored in this lecture), has a surprisingly long and bloody past. Most people studying this area agree there have been several previous ‘waves’ of solo-actor terrorism, from belle époque anarchism, to postwar anti-colonialism to more recent ideological attacks; of the latter, Anders Behring Breivik has been the most recent and murderous. In the present and, quite likely, the future, the motivations and context of this tactic have largely via right–wing extremists and, for different reasons, jihadi Islamists. Without doubt, these kinds of attacks have witnessed a frightening spike since the onset of the Internet Age. After a new definition of this phenomena several less-known cases in Britain in the last 15 years will be analysed, before being compared and contrasted with Breivik’s solo-actor attacks on 22 July 2011, which killed 77 people in Norway.
Matthew Feldman is a Reader in Contemporary History at Teesside University, where he co-directs the Centre for Fascist, Anti-fascist and Post- fascist Studies. He is also a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Bergen, Norway; he has held previous fellowships with the Universities of Oxford and Birmingham, as well as HEFCE and the University of Northampton, where he previously directed the School of Social Sciences’ Radicalism and New Media Research Group (www.radicalism-new-media.org). He is also an editor of Wiley- Blackwell’s online journal, Compass: Political Religions, Continuum’s two monograph series, Historicizing Modernism and Modernist Archives, and has published widely in the areas of cultural and political history since WWI.