Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 26 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Theories are essential for scientific advances, allowing researchers to test assumptions and to dispel superstitions and prejudices. Early theories of terrorism however were often the byproduct of thought pieces, and have since been derided by esteemed scholars for dubiously mischaracterizing terrorism. In recent years both sociological and criminological theories have been advanced to motivate a host of research that has supplanted earlier intuitive but inaccurate theories of terrorism. Testing these theories with the benefit of analytic advances and more comprehensive datasets has revealed numerous insights that have guided more effective counterterrorism strategies. This work has also provided compelling evidence that sociology and criminology have much to offer our understanding of terrorism. This chapter documents some of these major theoretical contributions for understanding terrorists’ motives and for informing efforts to prevent terrorism, while highlighting the existing strengths and gaps in this burgeoning research.

Keywords: terrorism, sociological theory, criminological theory, methodological advances, testing theory

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.