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date: 18 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter discusses driving factors for the future of global terrorism and its academic study. It focuses on the role of old and new media, facilitating terrorist strategies aimed at mobilizing recruits and polarizing societies. Other types of violence kill more people, but terrorism threatens democratic societies by pitting values such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and non-discrimination, on the one hand, against protecting the lives of potential victims, on the other. Scholars have responded by seeking predictive “models” of radicalization, sometimes without understanding the local contexts from which operatives emerge. The narrow historical scope of most quantitative databases and the tailoring of inquiries to fit the data available further hobble their efforts. Terrorism is neither a hermetically sealed phenomenon nor the worst type of violence that can occur. Scholars must collaborate more across disciplines if they are to analyze and counter it effectively.

Keywords: terrorism, new media, social media, definition of terrorism, history of terrorism, strategies of terrorism, radicalization, extremism, polarization, mobilization

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