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Completed project

Disruption, Social Capital and Resilience

A Longitudinal and Comparative Approach

Project period 2015 - 2019
Project employer The Research Council of Norway
Project nr. 10046
Project leader Kari Steen-Johnsen

Photo: Colourbox.

The overall aim of the project is to examine how disruptive action aimed at doing harm and create fear influence the social capital and resilience of societies. The consequences of the terrorist attack on the 22nd of July 2011 are at the core of the project, but great emphasis is also placed on comparing experiences and consequences of disruptive events in different countries, more specifically in the US, Spain, France and Finland.

Deliberate and malicious disruptive actions such as terror can affect stocks of social capital. These effects play out differently in the short and long term and vary between contexts. Such disruptive action may enhance a sense of risk, worry and increased awareness and lead to political consequences such as decreased out group trust and political polarization.

By comparing five different societies, with different historical backgrounds and different experiences with terrorism, the project seeks to shed light on which factors are of importance in shaping societal reactions to disruptive events. If an enhanced sense of fear and awareness persists over time after a terrorist attack, this may influence social capital in society, in other words, networks and norms of collaboration. At the same time, the prevalence of social capital in a population can strengthen a society's resilience, for example by curbing fear and improving conditions for mass mobilizations in the aftermath of shocks.

Milestones in the project

● Flash surveys after the attacks in Paris and Nice, 2015/2016

When this project was first designed, we added the possibility of carrying out flash surveys in the aftermath of terrorist events, in the case that such events would occur in Europe or the US during the project period. After the Paris attacks in November 2015 we decided to do a comparative survey on fear of terrorism, trust and political reactions in our four countries, also including France.

Preliminary analyses show that levels of fear were considerably lower in Norway and Finland than in the three other countries right after the attacks, and that the populations in France, but also in Spain and the US expressed stronger reactions to the events. A set of comparative articles are now being developed based on these data, on the relationship between use of social media during the attacks and fear, on fear and attitudes towards different aspects of immigration policies and on the occurrence of online hate speech in this period.

After the Nice attack in July 2016 we also carried out a short survey in France. This survey will enable us to study changes in trust and fear in the period from the Paris attacks on and also, to discuss the consequences of being exposed to repeated terrorist attacks.

● Focus group interviews in Norway, spring 2016

In order to delve more deeply into people’s experience of the danger of terrorism and what terrorism might potentially do to society, we carried out five focus group interviews in Norway, with participant in different age groups and with a Muslim and non-Muslim background. Among the themes discussed was the experience of 22nd of July and of the current danger of terrorism. Based on these interviews we will write papers about how different groups understand and interpret terrorism and about what conditions resilience.

● Comparative survey, December 2016

In December we are carrying out a new wave of surveys in the five countries, which will also be useful for studying changes over time, and for evaluating the contextual factors that are of importance in shaping the responses to terrorism in different societies. In this survey we also examine how respondents react to different forms of terrorism, both right wing and ISIS-related.

Media Coverage

Terrorism and the Media, Shana Gadarian, 17.07.17, on The National

External publications

Kaakinen, Markus (2018). Disconnected online : A social psychological examination of online hate. Tampere University Press.

Kaakinen, M., Oksanen, A., & Räsänen, P. (2018). Did the risk of exposure to online hate increase after the November 2015 Paris attacks? A group relations approach. Computers in Human Behavior78, 90-97.

Elseth, Maja Stien (2016). Tillit og frykt i en norsk kontekst. En kvantitativ studie av tillitens betydning for terrorfrykt. Master's Thesis, the University of Oslo.

Haug, Magnus (2016). Kollektivt minne, kortvarig virkning? Tillit i Norge etter terrorangrepet 22. juli 2011. Master's Thesis, the University of Oslo.

See also:


ParticipantDegree PhoneE-mail
Bernard Enjolras Research Professor, Director Center for research on civil society and voluntary sector PhD +47 976 89 237
Kari Steen-Johnsen Research Professor PhD +47 906 49 417
Marte Winsvold Senior Research Fellow PhD +47 930 33 752
Dag Wollebæk Research Professor PhD
Shana Gadarian (Syracuse University, USA)
Francisco Herreros (the Spanish National Research Council, Spania)
Atte Oksanen (University of Tampere, Finland)
Øyvind Bugge Solheim


  • Steen-Johnsen, Kari & Winsvold, Marte (2021). Islamist terrorism, out-group trust, and motivation to control prejudice. International Journal of Public Opinion Research. 32(3). doi: 10.1093/IJPOR/EDZ014. Full text in Research Archive
  • Steen-Johnsen, Kari; Solheim, Øyvind Bugge; Winsvold, Marte Slagsvold & Enjolras, Bernard (2021). Tillit etter terror i Norge, Frankrike og Spania. Betydningen av narrativer og politisk kontekst. Norsk sosiologisk tidsskrift. 5(3), p. 12–27. doi: 10.18261/issn.2535-2512-2021-03-02. Full text in Research Archive
  • Kaakinen, Markus; Oksanen, Atte; Kushner Gadarian, Shana; Solheim, Øyvind Bugge; Herreros, Francisco & Winsvold, Marte Slagsvold [Show all 8 contributors for this article] (2021). Online Hate and Zeitgeist of Fear: A Five-Country Longitudinal Analysis of Hate Exposure and Fear of Terrorism After the Paris Terrorist Attacks in 2015. Political Psychology. 42(6), p. 1019–1035. doi: 10.1111/pops.12732. Full text in Research Archive
  • Makkonen, Anna; Oksanen, Atte; Gadarian, Shana Kushner; Herreros, Francisco; Winsvold, Marte & Solheim, Øyvind Bugge [Show all 8 contributors for this article] (2020). Fear-triggering effects of terrorism threats: Cross-country comparison in a terrorism news scenario experiment. Personality and Individual Differences. 161. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2020.109992. Full text in Research Archive
  • Solheim, Øyvind Bugge (2019). Are we all Charlie? How media priming and framing affect immigration policy preferences after terrorist attacks. West European Politics. doi: 10.1080/01402382.2019.1683791. Full text in Research Archive
  • Wollebæk, Dag; Karlsen, Rune; Steen-Johnsen, Kari & Enjolras, Bernard (2019). Anger, Fear, and Echo Chambers: The Emotional Basis for Online Behavior. Social Media + Society. 5(2). doi: 10.1177/2056305119829859. Full text in Research Archive
  • Steen-Johnsen, Kari & Winsvold, Marte (2019). Global Terrorism and the Civil Sphere in Norway: Renegotiating Civil Codes. In Alexander, Jeffrey C.; Lund, Anna & Voyer, Andrea (Ed.), The Nordic Civil Sphere. Polity Press. p. 229–255. Full text in Research Archive
  • Enjolras, Bernard; Gadarian, Shana & Steen-Johnsen, Kari (2019). Social Media Use and Fear Levels after the Paris 2015 Attacks: A Comparative Study. In Elman, Miriam F.; Gerard, Catherine; Golan, Galia & Kriesberg, Louis (Ed.), Overcoming Intractable Conflicts : New Approaches to Constructive Transformations. Rowman & Littlefield International. p. 107–122.
  • Enjolras, Bernard; Steen-Johnsen, Kari; Herreros, Francisco; Solheim, Øyvind Bugge; Winsvold, Marte & Gadarian, Shana [Show all 7 contributors for this article] (2019). Does trust prevent fear in the aftermath of terrorist attacks? Perspectives on Terrorism (PT). 13(4), p. 39–55. Full text in Research Archive
  • Solheim, Øyvind Bugge (2018). Right-wing Terrorism and Out-group Trust: The Anatomy of a Terrorist Backlash. Terrorism and Political Violence. p. 1–19. doi: 10.1080/09546553.2018.1457526. Full text in Research Archive
  • Oksanen, Atte; Kaakinen, Markus; Minkkinen, Jaana; Räsänen, Pekka; Enjolras, Bernard & Steen-Johnsen, Kari (2018). Perceived societal fear and cyberhate after the November 2015 Paris Terrorist Attacks. Terrorism and Political Violence. doi: 10.1080/09546553.2018.1442329. Full text in Research Archive

View all works in Cristin

  • Solheim, Øyvind Bugge; Steen-Johnsen, Kari & Heidar, Knut (2019). Terrorism and Attitudes Toward Out-groups: A Political Perspective. University of Oslo. Full text in Research Archive

View all works in Cristin

  • Steen-Johnsen, Kari (2021). Tillit.
  • Steen-Johnsen, Kari (2020). Pandemier har forandret verden før. Hva blir endringene denne gangen? [Newspaper]. Aftenposten.
  • Steen-Johnsen, Kari (2020). Innslag om hamstring og tillit under Corona-krisen. NRK Nyheter. [Radio]. NRK.
  • Steen-Johnsen, Kari (2020). Nyhetsmorgen. Innslag om politisk og sosial tillit i kriser. [TV]. NRK.
  • Steen-Johnsen, Kari (2019). Stengning av sosiale medier etter terroren på Sri Lanka. [TV]. TV2 Nyhetskanalen.
  • Steen-Johnsen, Kari (2019). Sosiale medier i krisesituasjoner. [Radio]. NRK Nyhetsmorgen.
  • Steen-Johnsen, Kari (2019). Tillit og bevæpning av politiet. [Radio]. NRK P2 Desse dagar.
  • Steen-Johnsen, Kari & Fladmoe, Audun (2019). How wide is the acceptance in the general public to publish religious cartoons in mass media? Evidence from a Norwegian survey experiment.
  • Solheim, Øyvind Bugge (2019). Ordene som teller. [Newspaper]. Morgenbladet.
  • Steen-Johnsen, Kari; Enjolras, Bernard; Winsvold, Marte Slagsvold & Solheim, Øyvind Bugge (2019). Bør vi blokkere sosiale medier etter terrorangrep? Morgenbladet.
  • Solheim, Øyvind Bugge; Steen-Johnsen, Kari; Enjolras, Bernard; Winsvold, Marte; Herreros, Francisco & Gadarian, Shana [Show all 7 contributors for this article] (2018). Terrorism, emotion and trust in Muslims.
  • Solheim, Øyvind Bugge (2018). “Our” security and “their” civil liberties – Investigating the effects of terrorism on public opinion.
  • Steen-Johnsen, Kari & Winsvold, Marte Slagsvold (2017). Islamic terrorism, out-group trust and the motivation to control .
  • Solheim, Øyvind Bugge (2017). Are we all Charlie? Tolerance and immigration attitudes after the Charlie Hebdo attacks.
  • Enjolras, Bernard; Steen-Johnsen, Kari & Gadarian, Shana (2016). Social media use and fear levels after the Paris 2015 attacks. A comparative study.
  • Solheim, Øyvind Bugge (2016). In-Group Terrorism and Out-Group Trust - The black sheep effect and the importance of the political discourse.

View all works in Cristin

Tags: Civil Society
Published June 20, 2017 5:11 PM - Last modified June 30, 2022 1:27 PM