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Book

Cover Contemporary Terrorism Studies

Edited by Diego Muro and Tim Wilson

Contemporary Terrorism Studies is made up of three parts. Part One looks at the state of terrorism studies. Chapters here ask first, what are terrorism studies? These chapters also look at critical terrorism studies and conceptualizations of terrorism. The second part is about issues and debates in terrorism studies. This part starts off with an overview of the history of terrorism. It asks what the root causes of terrorism are and whether terrorism can ever be rational. Chapters here also look into old and new terrorism and social media and terrorism. To conclude this part, the last chapter here asks whether terrorism is effective. The third part of the book covers countering terrorism. Here, counterterrorism agencies are examined. Issues such as human rights, foreign policy, and international terrorism are covered. The chapters in this part also seek ways to prevent and counter violent extremism. They also consider victims of terrorism. The book concludes with an analysis of the end of terrorist campaigns.

Chapter

Cover Contemporary Terrorism Studies

5. Terrorism in Context  

Adrian Guelke

This chapter explores terrorism in context. It is difficult to make generalizations about terrorism and outline exactly what causes it. Terrorism as a term is most commonly used to describe violence which comes from below and is directed at the power of the state. That has indeed been the dominant usage during the last century and a half as we have seen successive waves of terrorism. But the form that such violence takes has varied widely so that terrorism has developed to have multiple meanings across time and in different contexts. Context remains crucial to the development of an understanding of terrorism in its many manifestations. The chapter considers a number of types of terrorism as defined by studies including lone wolf terrorism, transnational terrorism, and international terrorism.

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Cover Contemporary Terrorism Studies

1. Introduction  

Diego Muro and Tim Wilson

This chapter introduces the field of terrorism studies, which is the fastest-growing sub-discipline within the broader field of international relations. As a subject of study, terrorism is a cutting-edge field in terms of looking into how power relations are determined in the world today. Generally, terrorism studies have tended to see terrorism as a deliberate act of inciting of fear in other people. The chapter highlights the importance of accounting for the cost of lost lives while studying terrorism. The chapter then divides the book into three divisions: state of terrorism studies, debates in terrorism studies, and countering terrorism. Additionally, the chapter notes how case studies are used to examine concepts in relation to real-life experiences.

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Cover Contemporary Terrorism Studies

17. Old and New Terrorism  

Peter R. Neumann

This chapter looks into the evolution of terrorism. Changes in technology and other aspects of terrorism had produced a new form of terrorism. Globalization and the rise of information technology had allowed terrorist organizations to ‘flatten’ their hierarchies and operate across greater distances. Academic studies into new terrorism considers the following: the motives and actions of policymakers, validity of cause, and comparisons between ‘new’ and ‘old’ terrorisms. The chapter specifically considers Islam. The chapter also looks at considerations over the use of the term ‘new’ in relation to terrorism now. New terrorism has brought out a more nuanced and sophisticated understanding of the various trends and developments within the broader field of terrorism studies.

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Cover Contemporary Terrorism Studies

2. What Are Terrorism Studies?  

Tim Wilson

This chapter gives a basic overview of the field of terrorism studies. It looks at attempts to define the boundaries of terrorism as a subject. It traces the evolution of orthodox terrorism studies since the 1970s. The term terrorism was first coined during the French Revolution. Terrorism sparks powerful images of sudden, disruptive, and system-shaking political violence. The academic study of terrorism as it exists now reflects the shifting concerns of both governments and the public. Scolarship on terrorism has never been richer and more diverse than it is now. New research opportunties always raise new challenges so it will be interesting to see the field of terrorism studies evolve even further in the future.

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Cover Contemporary Terrorism Studies

4. Conceptualizations of Terrorism  

Anthony Richards

This chapter looks into various conceptualizations of terrorism. Most terrorism scholars view terrorism as a distinctive phenomenon when compared with other forms of political violence. Terrorism is most often defined as the use of violence for the purpose of generating a psychological impact beyond the immediate victims or any sort of political motive. However, how to accurately define terrorism has long been the subject of contentious debates both within policy-making and the terrorism studies literature of the past fifty years. The chapter then lists the levels of analysing terrorism. These are: definition, conceptualization, and pejorative labeling. It notes how the psychological impact and terrorism is viewed as fundamental in understanding terrorism.

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Cover Security Studies: Critical Perspectives

8. Terrorism and asymmetric conflicts  

Christian Olsson

This chapter assesses the question of ‘security for what purpose?’ in asymmetric conflicts where rival political-military organizations, typically a government and a clandestine group, compete to institute and enforce a socio-political order. Terrorism and the asymmetric use of violence are often understood to pose specific kinds of security challenges that distinguish them from other forms of political violence like war. The chapter highlights why parties to these conflicts often come to threaten individuals—be it through indiscriminate repression or clandestine political violence. It also shows that the protagonists of such conflicts generally seek to define security in terms of the stability of their own socio-political order, thus potentially increasing levels of violence. It is in the context of such conflicts that the chapter discusses the concepts of terrorism and counterterrorism.

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Cover Contemporary Terrorism Studies

14. Can States Be Terrorists?  

Kieran McConaghy

This chapter discusses how states use political violence and asks whether this sort of action could be considered terrorism or not. It lists the core points of study related to state acts of violence. These include instances of threatened acts of violence, state approval of violent acts, and the psychological impact of state and non-state acts of violence. State terrorism has become marginalized because the focus has been primarily on certain types of non-state political violence. States frequently sponsor or assist violent groups internationally when such acts serve their foreign policy objectives. The chapter examines examples of governments taking advantage of state terrorism. This tends to happen in totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, but also with colonial powers and liberal democracies too. The chapter clarifies how an accurate definition of terrorism is dependent on intent, which is difficult to determine for state and non-state actors.

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Cover Contemporary Terrorism Studies

15. Gendered and Racialized Terrorism  

Caron E. Gentry

This chapter focuses on gendered and racial terrorism. One reason that terrorism is perceived as significantly worse than state violence is because of how gender and race have become delegitimizing forces in socio-political life. Post-structuralism and intersectionality are used in this chapter to try to understand how terrorism is subjective. This is particularly the case in terms of the power structures of gender and race. Gender and race structures use essentialization and idealization to create and maintain hierarchical relationships between people and objects such as states and terrorist groups. The chapter discusses the incel revolution. Here gender and race had been the primary driving forces in this rising social movement.

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Cover Contemporary Terrorism Studies

22. Counterterrorism and Human Rights  

Frank Foley

This chapter cites how counterterrorism policies and operations have impacted human rights in liberal democracies. It highlights how detention without trial, torture, and extra-judicial killings impact negatively human rights. Human rights are defined as the fundamental moral rights of a person necessary for a life with human dignity. Additionally, counterterrorism, in the chapter, refers to policies formulated and actions taken to reduce, mitigate, or prevent terrorism. The chapter presents key factors and mechanisms at play through case studies of Northern Ireland in the 1970s and the United States ‘war’ against jihadist terrorism. It also looks at theories of international relations as they relate to how human rights impacts policies for counterterrorism.

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Cover Contemporary Terrorism Studies

23. Foreign Policy and Countering Terrorism  

Rashmi Singh

This chapter explains how foreign policies intersect and interact with terrorism and counterterrorism. It considers core instruments of foreign policy and methods for countering terrorism. Examples include diplomacy and culture, economic statecraft, and the military. There is some evidence suggesting the use of military pressure can be quite effective in achieving specific policy objectives. However, the chapter also emphasizes how an interrelationship and interdependence between foreign policies and counterterrorism could hinder the fight against terrorism. The sub-divisions of countering terrorism are anti-terrorism, counter-terrorism, and consequence management. States must include compromise elements in their foreign policy in their direct dealings with other governments when it comes to countering terrorism.

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Cover Contemporary Terrorism Studies

3. Critical Terrorism Studies  

Harmonie Toros

This chapter focuses on critical terrorism studies (CTS), which is an investigation into whether terrorism exists at all. These sorts of studies look into the different actors who play a part in different practices and consequences. CTS considers how the construction of the terrorist threat serves specific political, economic, and social functions. Additionally, CTS hopes for a political project aimed at changing the world's policies and practices of security and terrorism. The chapter lists the theoretical foundations of CTS, which derive from post-structuralism and constructivism, and the Frankfurt School's ideas on critical theory. Finally, the chapter shows that terrorism is primarily seen as a political issue under the stance of CTS.

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Cover Contemporary Terrorism Studies

8. The History of Terrorism  

Bernhard Blumenau and Tim Wilson

This chapter discusses the history of terrorism. Terrorism, as it is understood in this chapter, is the deliberate use or threat of violence by non-state actors in order to achieve power and implement political goals. Historical studies help us to better understand the sheer complexity of terrorism from the past. The chapter looks into the gunpowder revolution in Europe. It cites David Rapoport's ‘Four Waves’ model and relates it to accounts of the historical evolution of modern anti-state terrorism since 1880. Rapoport's work has become the dominant explanation of the evolution of modern terrorism.

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Cover Contemporary Terrorism Studies

24. International Organizations and Counter-Terrorism  

Christian Kaunert and Ori Wertman

This chapter outlines the role of international organizations in battling terrorism. Cross-border cooperation became vital when transnational and global terrorist threats increased. Additionally, the range of legal powers between different international organizations is substantial. The chapter then looks at the counterterrorism efforts, challenges, and success within the United Nations (UN), Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN), European Union (EU), and the North-Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). It then notes the modalities of counterterrorism cooperation amongst international organizations. The European Court of Justice has shown its willingness to prioritize European interests over global interests, the chapter argues. Meanwhile, NATO-EU counter-terrorism cooperation has mainly improved with respect to areas such as maritime security and cybersecurity.

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Cover Contemporary Security Studies

1. Introduction: What is Security Studies?  

Alan Collins

This chapter provides an introduction to Security Studies, the sub-discipline of International Relations that deals with the study of security. War and the threat to use force are part of the security equation, but the prevalence of threats is far-reaching for Security Studies. They encompass dangers ranging from pandemic and environmental degradation to terrorism and inter-state armed conflict. The latter is actually a sub-field of Security Studies and is known as Strategic Studies. This edition examines differing approaches to the study of security, such as realism, liberalism, social constructivism, and postcolonialism. It also investigates the deepening and broadening of security to include military security, regime security, societal security, environmental security, and economic security. Finally, it discusses a range of traditional and non-traditional issues that have emerged on the security agenda, including weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, energy security, and health.

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Cover Contemporary Security Studies

21. Weapons of Mass Destruction  

James J. Wirtz

This chapter examines how weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) work and the effects they might have if used on the battlefield or against civilian targets. The threat posed by WMD proliferation to state actors is of increasing concern, and it is even more alarming if these weapons are deployed for terrorism purposes. A chemical weapons attack against a major sporting venue, for example, could kill thousands of people, while a successful anthrax attack might place hundreds of thousands at risk. The chapter considers how WMDs such as nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, and biological weapons have been used in war and how they have shaped the practice of international politics.

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Cover Strategy in the Contemporary World

1. Introduction  

Strategy in the Contemporary World

John Baylis, James J. Wirtz, and Jeannie L. Johnson

This book examines strategy in the contemporary world. Part I considers the enduring issues that animate the study of strategy and tackles topics ranging from the causes of war to questions about culture, morality, and war. Part II deals with issues that fuel strategic debates, with chapters on terrorism and irregular warfare, nuclear weapons, arms control, weapons of mass destruction, conventional military power, peacekeeping and humanitarian intervention, and cyberwar. Part III discusses critical and non-Western approaches to the study of strategy and security that have emerged in recent years, and concludes by reflecting on future prospects for strategic studies. This introduction provides an overview of strategic studies, criticisms that are made of strategic studies, and how strategic studies relates to security studies.

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Cover Strategy in the Contemporary World

11. Irregular Warfare Terrorism and Insurgency  

James D. Kiras

This chapter examines two types of irregular warfare: terrorism and insurgency. It first considers the problematic definitions given to irregular warfare, terrorism, and insurgency before discussing the theory and practice of irregular warfare. In particular, it highlights the role of time, space, legitimacy, and/or support in insurgent and terrorist campaigns. It then analyses counterinsurgency and counterterrorism in theory and practice, focusing on three important elements of successful campaigns against insurgents and terrorists, namely, location, isolation, and eradication. It also explores contemporary and future irregular threats and how they are driven by a combination of culture, religious fanaticism, and technology. Finally, it comments on the role to be played by information technology in irregular wars of the future, which some observers expect to be fought in cyberspace.

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Cover Contemporary Terrorism Studies

10. When Do Individuals Radicalize?  

Rik Coolsaet

This chapter examines issues related to the radicalization of individuals. It explores the advent of terrorism studies. Early scholars laid the foundations for current thinking on terrorism. The chapter defines radicalization as the process wherein participants are drawn into a protest with the likelihood of a terrorist act taking place. The classic definition of radicalization has been much contested from its very beginning. The 9/11 attacks of Al-Qaeda gave terrorism studies a renewed boost. The chapter looks into various models which depict the steps of radicalization. It also looks at the factors which make an individual become a terrorist: conductive environment, opportunity, local mobilization hubs, and ideology. In most cases, the process of socialization into extremism and terrorism transpires gradually.

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Cover Contemporary Terrorism Studies

11. Can Terrorism Be Rational?  

Max Abrahms

This chapter looks into the rationality of terrorism. It starts off by looking into the paradox of terrorism. Political scientists typically view terrorists as rational political actors. However, empirical research on terrorism suggests that terrorism is in fact an ineffective political tactic. Evidence indicates that in instances where there has been terrorist attacks on civilians, governments rarely grant concessions. This might explain why terrorism is often selected as a tactic only if alternative options are no longer viable. The chapter uses Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State as case studies to examine broader patterns of terrorism. Knowing the priority of terrorists is vital for governments when considering counterterrorism actions. Having an understanding of the grievances of terrorists helps political actors predict which targets the terrorists will attack.