STRATEGIC ANALYSIS

Terrorism Can and Should be Defined. But How?

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  • July 2019
    Volume: 
    43
    Issue: 
    4
    Articles

    The debate over what constitutes terrorism spans a wide, diverse and largely a competing body of intellectual strands. In particular, the lack of consensus on the need (or otherwise) for a universally acceptable definition or no definition at all characterizes the discursive dynamics of the definitional subfield. Conversely, there is a persistent tendency of circumspection to embrace methodologies, e.g. case study frameworks, that can prove to be more helpful in conceptualizing terrorism. By contextualizing the terrorist violence in Pakistan as a case, this article demonstrates that an objective definition of terrorism is conceivable if the phenomenon is understood contextually and as part of communication processes.

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