Contemporary Debates on Terrorism

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  • Format: Nonspecific Binding
  • Copyright: 2012-02-16
  • Publisher: Routledge

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Debating Terrorism is an innovative new textbook, addressing a number of key issues in contemporary terrorism studies from both 'traditional' and 'critical' perspectives.In recent years, the terrorism studies field has grown in quantity and quality, with a growing number of scholars rooted in various professional disciplines beginning to debate the complex dynamics underlying this category of violence. Within the broader field, there are a number of identifiable controversies and questions which divide scholarly opinion and generate opposing arguments. These relate to theoretical issues, such as the definition of terrorism and state terrorism, substantive issues like the threat posed by al Qaeda and the utility of different responses to terrorism, different pathways leading people to engage in terrorist tactics, and ethical issues such as the torture of terrorist suspects and targeted assassination.This volume aims to bring together in one place many of the field's leading scholars to debate the key issues relating a set of 12 important controversies and questions. The format of the volume involves a leading scholar taking a particular position on the controversy, followed by an opposing or alternative viewpoint written by another scholar. In addition to the pedagogic value of allowing students to read opposing arguments in one place, the volume will also be important for providing an overview of the state of the field and its key lines of debate.This textbook will be essential reading for all students of terrorism and political violence, critical terrorism studies, critical security studies, security studies and IR in general.

Author Biography

Richard Jackson is Professor in International Politics at Aberystwyth University and the author/editor of four books on terrorism and conflict issues. Samuel Justin Sinclair is Assistant Professor of Psychology a Harvard Medical School, and Director of Research al the Massachusetts General Hospital's Psychological Evaluation and Research Laboratory (PFaRL). He is the author/editor of two books.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgementsp. xi
The editorsp. xiii
Notes on contributorsp. xv
Introduction: contemporary debates on terrorismp. 1
Definition of terrorismp. 9
Is terrorism still a useful analytical term or should it be abandoned?p. 11
YES: The utility of the concept of terrorismp. 11
NO: A landscape of meaning: constructing understandings of political violence from the broken paradigm of 'terrorismp. 17
Discussion questionsp. 24
Further readingsp. 25
Categories of terrorismp. 27
Is there a 'new terrorism' in existence today?p. 29
YES: The 'new terrorism' or the 'newness' of context and changep. 29
NO: The fallacy of the new terrorism thesisp. 35
Discussion questionsp. 42
Further readingsp. 42
Can states be terrorists?p. 43
YES: State terror: the theoretical and practical utilities and implications of a contested conceptp. 43
NO: State terrorism: who needs it?p. 50
Discussion questionsp. 57
Further readingsp. 57
The terrorism threat
Is terrorism a serious threat to international and national security?p. 61
YES: The continuing threat to state securityp. 61
NO: Why terrorism is a much smaller threat than you thinkp. 66
Discussion questionsp. 74
Further readingsp. 75
Is WMD terrorism a likely prospect in the future?p. 76
YES: WMD terrorism: a potential threat to international securityp. 76
NO: WMD terrorism: the prospectsp. 84
Discussion questionsp. 89
Further readingsp. 89
Does al-Qaeda continue to pose a serious international threat?p. 90
YES: The enduring al-Qaeda threat: a network perspectivep. 90
NO: Al-Qaeda: a diminishing threatp. 97
Discussion questionsp. 103
Further readingsp. 103
The causes of terrorismp. 105
Is terrorism the result of root causes such as poverty and exclusion?p. 107
YES: Do structural factors explain terrorism?p. 107
NO: Poverty and exclusion are not the root causes of terrorismp. 1
Discussion questionsp. 119
Further readingsp. 120
Is religious extremism a major cause of terrorism?p. 121
YES: Religious extremism as a major cause of terrorismp. 121
NO: 'Religious terrorism' as ideologyp. 127
Discussion questionsp. 134
Further readingsp. 134
Dealing with terrorismp. 135
Are counterterrorism frameworks based on suppression and military force effective in responding to terrorism?p. 137
YES: The use of force to combat terrorismp. 137
NO: Wars of terror - learning the lessons of failurep. 143
Discussion questionsp. 150
Further readingsp. 150
Is the use of coercive interrogation or torture permissible and effective as a counterterrorism method?p. 152
YES: The truth about American state interrogation techniques, torture and the ticking time-bomb terroristp. 152
NO: Why torture is wrongp. 159
Discussion questionsp. 165
Further readingsp. 165
Is the targeted assassination of terrorist suspects an effective response to terrorism?p. 166
YES: A viable and vital policy optionp. 166
NO: The case against targeted assassinationp. 173
Discussion questionsp. 180
Further readingsp. 180
Have global efforts to reduce terrorism and political violence been effective in the past decade?p. 181
YES: 'Looking for a needle in a stack of needles'p. 181
NO: 'Using a sledgehammer to crack a nut'p. 187
Discussion questionsp. 193
Further readingsp. 193
Referencesp. 195
Indexp. 215
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