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Why terrorism can, but should not be defined

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article seeks to turn the debate about the definition of terrorism on its head by arguing: (1) that the definitional debate has served to obscure the substantial scholarly consensus that actually exists on what terrorism is; (2) that this consensus is, however, largely unnecessary and irrelevant to the effective use of the term in the heterogeneous contexts within which it is employed; and (3) that by focusing on the quest for a definition of terrorism, terrorism scholars have largely missed the really interesting question about the word, namely, why it is that, given the heterogeneous purposes and contexts for which the word is used, we nonetheless continue to use a single word for all. In other words, how is it that we continue to know terrorism when we see it?
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-228
JournalCritical Studies on Terrorism
Volume8
Issue number2
Early online date12 Feb 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Research areas

  • Definition, Terrorism, Schmid

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