Sara Meharg

Senior Research Affiliate

As an Assistant Professor at the Canadian Forces College, Sara Meharg is responsible for the continuing professional education of individuals who shape Canada’s policy.

There is a strong Canadian theme in Meharg’s research, which suits TSAS’s goal of creating a uniquely Canadian response to terrorism – having worked for the CAF’s Peace Support Training Centre and Canada’s Pearson Peacekeeping Centre, she familiarized myself with the nation’s evolving security interests.

Meharg’s theory of identicide (the destruction of symbols of a group’s identity) forwards a novel understanding of identity construction and social behaviour, while also serving as a framework for understanding extremist values. Identicide, in combination with ontological security theory, explains effects of and responses to terrorism: when a population’s ontological security/routine is disrupted by an attack, their identity also suffers, causing psychological damage. Working with TSAS would allow Meharg to explore the nexus between identicide and terrorism, particularly in the digital realm, through investigating how online spaces encourage digital tribalism and catalyze terrorist activity and how states can best mitigate such incitement.

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