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Lloyd Sealy Library
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Terrorism research resources

Defining terrorism

There is not one universally agreed upon definition of terrorism. Terrorism has been defined as political violence committed to generate fear. It has also been compared to guerrilla warfare. Others associate terrorism with larger power struggles such as the cold war and contemporary religious-political conflicts. Researchers have also discussed the notion of state terrorism or violence committed by the state through torture or the use of intimidation tactics. Definitions of terrorism and the characteristics of terrorists also change over time. For instance, individuals who were once considered terrorists, such as Nelson Mandela, are now celebrated heroes.

For further reading on the debates around defining terrorism see Terrorism (2011) by Erik S. Case from The 21st Century Political Science: A Reference Handbook (Vol. 1. ) or search Gale Ebooks via the search widget below.



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