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Lecture 22

CLASSICS 1M03 Lecture 22: Political Science 1AB3 2017 Lecture 9a International terrorism overhead

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Claude Eilers

Political Science 1AB3 2017 Lecture 9a International terrorism - Three overarching questions about terrorism: - 1. Can we define terrorism in an objective way? - 2. Can we explain terrorism as a social scientific phenomenon? - 3. What were/are the consequences of the “War on Terror”? o Was the American War on Terror a reasonable policy response to 9/11? Definition: - A necessary first step before analyzing terrorism is to define it - What is terrorism? - There is a politics associated with defining terrorism - The term is notoriously loaded - For example, what is the difference between terrorism and state violence? - There are clear parallels between state violence and “terrorist” violence - 1. Both kill civilians - 2. Both are directed at obtaining political ends - 3. Both cause terror in their wake - Or what to make of the cliché: “One person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter” - What makes a terrorist a terrorist rather than a freedom fighter? - Where the same act is considered illegitimate terrorism from one point of view, but a legitimate struggle for freedom from another, any objective categorization becomes questionable - The point is, defining a group or an action as terrorist is an unavoidably political act - There is no obvious definition that would be accepted without vocal opposition from one quarter or another - The academic response to the definitional problem has been to either reject the idea that the term ‘terrorism’ can be used objectively, or to divide terrorism into a number of forms: - A) State terrorism 1 - This term is used to capture cases where a government will deliberately inflict violence on civilians in an attempt to obtain a political obj
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