Political Science 1G06 2013 II Lecture 8b International terrorism
Causes of terrorism?
- In the discipline of Political Science, terrorism is treated as a sociological issue
- It is not something that can be reduced to individual psycho-pathology
- Have to explore terrorism at a sociological level and not an individual issue
- Nor can terrorism be reduced to religion in any meaningful way
- Doing so begs many questions
o Why is a religious doctrine compelling enough to warrant terrorism at one
point in time, but not at another?
o Why do terrorist motivations take hold in some areas of the world, but not
in others – even while the religion is practiced worldwide?
o Some groups that have that religion, but was it the religion that caused
o There is no violence in the name of Islam
- A question of Root causes:
- 1. Culture?
- Some analysts have characterized modern terrorism as a cultural reaction against
the forces of Western globalization
- Begs the question: What role does culture play in generating particular social,
political, and economic outcomes?
- According to Samuel Huntington, in The Clash of Civilizations, in the modern era
there have been three major axis along which world-wide conflict has tilted
• Had a significant effect on foreign policy establishment
- 1. War of Princes
- From the Peace of Westphalia (1648) until the French revolution
- 2. War of Peoples
- From the French Revolution until World War I
- Nations fighting for nationqeedwddefrfwfwfrfrfsawfqr5shyeuh6wu6ygcdjnxzbyuh
- 3. War of Ideologies
- Beginning with the Russian Revolution (1917) and lasting until the end of the Cold
- 4. Clash of Civilizations?
- According to Huntington: “The fundamental source of conflict in the new world will
not be primarily ideological or economic. The great division among humankind and
the dominating source of conflict will be cultural. Nation states will remain the most
powerful actors in world affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics will
1 occur between nations and groups of different civilizations. The clash of
Civilizations will dominate global politics”
- Why now?
- According to Huntington, the most significant actors in world politics are no longer
all from within the same civilizational tradition
- Why Clash?:
- (Again, according to Huntington)
- 1. “Differences among Civilizations are both real and basic”
- 2. “Cultural characteristics are less mutable than political or economic ones”
- 3. Globalization:
- A) “The world is becoming a smaller place”
- As contact between individuals having different value systems increases, the
perception of this difference is itself likely to increase
- B) Economic and social processes are concurrently weak