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date: 26 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Much of the terrorism occurring worldwide is domestic terrorism carried out by rebel groups fighting in civil wars. However, many are reluctant to categorize domestic insurgencies as terrorist groups or to identify the tactics used by domestic insurgencies as terrorist tactics. Through a survey of the literature addressing the relationship between terrorism and civil war, I contend that research on the dynamics of violence in civil war would benefit from a more standardized definition of the concept of terrorism as well as greater consensus on how the concept of terrorism ought to be used in relation to the concept of civilian targeting. The lack of conceptual clarity in distinguishing between terrorism and civilian targeting makes it difficult to compare research findings, and thus to make progress as a field in our understanding of the causes of violence and its consequences. Despite the challenges associated with making comparisons across studies, this chapter attempts to do precisely this, drawing on research on terrorism as well as research on civilian targeting to develop insights on the causes and consequences of terrorist violence employed in the context of civil war.

Keywords: civil war, terrorism, causes of violence, civilian targeting, definition of terrorism

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