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date: 26 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Seeing official violence as unduly neglected, “critical terrorism studies” scholars have pushed hard for state terrorism to become a central concern of the emergent field of “terrorism studies.” Although laudable in intention, such critiques have been blunted in their impact by path dependency in how state violence has conventionally been studied. Some examples such as Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union have indeed been relatively well explored by scholars. Yet these truly spectacular examples are only a small part of the historical picture of state violence—and against that wider backdrop they appear highly aberrational. Any systematic attempt to understand the complexity of inter-relationship between state and non-state violence must develop both far greater historical awareness and sociological discernment.

Keywords: critical terrorism studies, state terrorism, torture, human rights, death squads

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