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The future study of terrorism

  • Richard English (a1)

This article reflects on the central problems to be faced over the next fifty years of the academic study of terrorism. It discusses a series of problems that are sometimes raised (regarding definition, the division between Critical Terrorism Studies and Orthodox Terrorism Studies, and the supposed stagnation in contemporary terrorism research), and argues that these present rather limited difficulties, in reality. It then identifies a greater problem, in the form of a five-fold fragmentation of the current field, before offering suggested means of addressing in practice these latter, more profound difficulties.

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*Correspondence to: Professor Richard English, Room 235, Arts Building, The Scores, St Andrews, Fife, KY16 9AX, Scotland, United Kingdom. Author’s email:
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Lisa Stampnitzky , Disciplining Terror: How Experts Invented ‘Terrorism’ (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013)

Richard English , ‘The enduring illusions of terrorism and counter-terrorism’, in Richard English (ed.), Illusions of Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015)

Anthony Richards , ‘Conceptualizing terrorism’, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 37:3 (2014)

Gilbert Ramsay , ‘Why terrorism can, but should not be defined’, Critical Studies on Terrorism, 8:2 (2015)

Richard Jackson , Marie Breen Smyth , and Jeroen Gunning (eds), Critical Terrorism Studies: A New Research Agenda (London: Routledge, 2009)

Richard English and Richard Jackson (eds), ‘The Belfast International Terrorism Workshop’, Critical Studies on Terrorism, 2:2 (2009)

Marc Sageman , ‘The stagnation in terrorism research’, Terrorism and Political Violence, 26:4 (2014), pp. 565

David Claridge , ‘State terrorism? Applying a definitional model’, Terrorism and Political Violence, 8:3 (1996)

Max Abrahms , ‘Why terrorism does not work’, International Security, 31:2 (2006)

Javier Argomaniz and Orla Lynch (eds), International Perspectives on Terrorist Victimization: An Interdisciplinary Approach (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015)

Adam Roberts , ‘Terrorism research: Past, present, and future’, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 38:1 (2015)

Alex P. Schmid , ‘Terrorism and democracy’, Terrorism and Political Violence, 4:2 (1992)

Manoj Joshi , ‘On the razor’s edge: The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam’, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 19:1 (1996)

Carl A. Wege , ‘Hizbollah organization’, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 17:2 (1994)

Michael Scheuer , Osama bin Laden (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011)

Andrew Silke , ‘Rebel’s dilemma: the changing relationship between the IRA, Sinn Fein and paramilitary vigilantism in Northern Ireland’, Terrorism and Political Violence, 11:1 (1999)

Angus M. Muir , ‘Terrorism and weapons of mass destruction: the case of Aum Shinrikyo’, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 22:1 (1999)

Jacob N. Shapiro , The Terrorist’s Dilemma: Managing Violent Covert Organizations (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013)

V. Page Fortna , ‘Do terrorists win? Rebels’ use of terrorism and civil war outcomes’, International Organization, 69:3 (2015)

Stathis N. Kalyvas , The Logic of Violence in Civil War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006)

Shane O’Mara , Why Torture Doesn’t Work: The Neuroscience of Interrogation (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015)

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European Journal of International Security
  • ISSN: 2057-5637
  • EISSN: 2057-5645
  • URL: /core/journals/european-journal-of-international-security
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