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date: 04 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This analysis of modern terrorism began with my inquiry into “The Intellectual Origins of Modern Terrorism” that appeared in Martha Crenshaw’s Terrorism in Context volume (Penn State University Press, 1994) and continued through my article “Ordinary Terrorism in Historical Perspective” (Journal for the Study of Radicalism, 2(1), 2008). My intention is to challenge the conversation over scholarly definitions of terrorism by moving beyond the predominating view that the violence emerges primarily from militants. My contention is that moments of terrorism in specific historical contexts must include the state, whose security forces are locked in mortal combat with insurgent groups. Both are contesting the reigning political legitimacy, with governments seeking to defend their authority while militants aspire to sabotage it. The result is a violent danse macabre that the case studies in this chapter clearly demonstrate.

Keywords: terrorism, political violence, state, militants, legitimacy

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