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Chapter

Cover Contemporary Terrorism Studies

6. The Social Science of Political Violence  

Stefan Malthaner, Donatella della Porta, and Lorenzo Bosi

This chapter examines the concept of political violence. Political violence is analysed through the process of radicalization, escalation, transformation, and disengagement resulting from interactions between multiple actors. The chapter explains how processual approaches offer a new way of trying to understand dynamic and continuously changing phenomena. Using processual approaches means taking on a critique of political violence explanations as an effect of socio-economic structural conditions, individual predispositions, or ideologies. The chapter also looks at the social movement theory, political opportunity structure approaches, and resource mobilization theory as alternative ways to study political violence. Appreciating continuity, interaction, context, and contingency are vital in understanding political violence.

Chapter

Cover Contemporary Terrorism Studies

21. Responding to Terrorism Nonviolently  

Sondre Lindahl and Richard Jackson

This chapter explores non-violent responses to terrorism. It notes the main failures and limitations of violent or force-based counterterrorism, before examining alternative non-violent approaches used to reduce the incidence of terrorism and transform violent conflict into political conflict. The most common alternative approach in an effort of conflict resolution and promoting a political settlement is the use of dialogue and negotiations. The chapter also discusses the literature on suggestions and guidance for further developing approaches to non-violent counterterrorism such as non-violent resistance, unarmed peacekeeping, non-warring communities, and social defence. Sondre Lindahl's critical theory of counterterrorism is based on principles such as needing to treat terrorism as a political phenomenon and aiming for more than the elimination of terrorists.

Chapter

Cover Introduction to International Relations: Theories and Approaches

2. IR as an Academic Subject  

This chapter examines how thinking about international relations (IR) has evolved since IR became an academic subject around the time of the First World War. The focus is on four established IR traditions: realism, liberalism, International Society, and International Political Economy (IPE). The chapter first considers three major debates that have arisen since IR became an academic subject at the end of the First World War: the first was between utopian liberalism and realism; the second between traditional approaches and behaviouralism; the third between neorealism/neoliberalism and neo-Marxism. There is an emerging fourth debate, that between established traditions and post-positivist alternatives. The chapter concludes with an analysis of alternative approaches that challenge the established traditions of IR, and with a discussion about criteria for good theory in IR.

Chapter

Cover Introduction to International Relations: Theories and Approaches

7. Social Constructivism  

This chapter examines the social constructivist theory of IR. It first discusses the rise of social constructivism and why it has established itself as an important approach in IR. It then considers constructivism as social theory, and more specifically as both a meta-theory about the nature of the social world and as a set of substantial theories of IR. Several examples of constructivist IR theory are presented, followed by reflections on the strengths and weaknesses of the constructivist approach. The chapter proceeds by exploring constructivist theories of international relations, focusing on cultures of anarchy, norms of International Society, the power of international organizations, a constructivist approach to European cooperation, and domestic formation of identity and norms. The chapter concludes with an analysis of some of the major criticisms of constructivism and by emphasizing internal debates within constructivism.