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NCJ Number: 63630 Find in a Library
Title: INTERPRETATIONS OF TERRORISM - FACT, FICTION AND POLITICAL SCIENCE
Journal: JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY HISTORY  Volume:12  Issue:1  Dated:(1977)  Pages:1-42
Author(s): W LAQUEUR
Corporate Author: Sage Publications Ltd
United Kingdom
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 42
Sponsoring Agency: Sage Publications Ltd
London, EC2A 4PU, England
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: THE MOTIVATIONS OF TERRORISTS AS SEEN THROUGH LITERATURE AND SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH ARE DISCUSSED WITH EMPHASIS ON THE DIVERSITY OF OPINION AMONG POLITICAL SCIENTISTS.
Abstract: DURING THE 1960'S, SOCIAL SCIENTISTS BECAME INTERESTED IN POLITICAL VIOLENCE; MOST RESEARCH TOOK PLACE IN THE UNITED STATES AND WAS CONNECTED TO THE VIETNAM WAR AND AMERICA'S INTERNAL TURMOIL. MANY RESEARCHERS ATTRIBUTED POLITICAL VIOLENCE TO THE BREAKUP OF TRADITIONAL SOCIETY; OTHERS CONCENTRATED ON THE UNEQUAL DISTRIBUTION OF PROPERTY OR LAND, AND OTHERS STUDIED THE SOCIAL CONSEQUENCES OF RAPID ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. THE APPLICATION OF POLITICAL SCIENCE TO THE STUDY OF INTERNAL CONFLICT HAS NOT LED TO THE EMERGENCE OF EXPLANATORY OR PREDICTIVE THEORIES BECAUSE (1) A QUANTITATIVE INDEX CANNOT REFLECT THE QUALITATIVE ASPECT OF HUMAN FRUSTRATION, (2) MOST OF THE RESEARCH WAS NOT HISTORICAL AND THUS IGNORED THE OCCURRENCE OF POLITICAL VIOLENCE IN AGES OF RAPID SOCIAL CHANGE AS WELL AS IN PERIODS OF STAGNATION, AND (3) STUDIES HAVE CONCENTRATED ON DEMOCRATIC SOCIETIES AND HAVE IGNORED MODERN DICTATORSHIPS. IN FACT, IT IS UNCLEAR WHETHER THERE MUST BE ANY CONNECTION BETWEEN POLITICAL INSTABILITY AND CIVIL VIOLENCE; TERRORIST USUALLY EMERGE FROM SMALL GROUPS OF PEOPLE WHOSE MOTIVES MAY NOT NECESSARILY BE CONNECTED WITH OBSERVABLE POLITICAL, ECONOMIC, SOCIAL, OR PSYCHOLOGICAL TRENDS. FOR THE POLITICAL SCIENTIST, FICTION OFFERS MORE OPPORTUNITY FOR UNDERSTANDING THE TERRORIST PHENOMENON THAN DOES SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH. WORKS BY THE RUSSIAN TERRORIST SAVINKOV, BY DOSTOYEVSKY, LIAM O'FLAHERTY, HENRY JAMES, JOSEPH CONRAD, ARTHUR KOESTLER, AND OTHERS OFFER KNOWLEDGE OF THE COMMON PATTERNS IN THE CHARACTER AND MENTALITY OF THE TERRORIST. THEY ARE OF VALUE TO THE CONTEMPORARY RESEARCHER AS LONG AS THESE WORKS ARE NOT REGARDED AS MANUALS FOR THE STUDY OF TERRORISM. FOOTNOTES ARE INCLUDED. (WJR)
Index Term(s): Behavioral and Social Sciences; Literature; Research methods; Revolutionary or terrorist groups; Terrorism/Mass Violence; Theory
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=63630

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