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date: 25 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Given the contemporary impact of terrorism and its likely persistence, in one or another form and at one level of intensity or another, it is highly important to understand just what it is—and what it is not—as well as its place within the wider phenomenon of warfare. Indeed, the phenomenon of terrorism—or, more precisely, the different phenomena that are often lumped together under that single term—has many different forms and as many different uses. To begin with, terrorism is about the stimulation of fear, in particular intense fear. But as defined for the purposes of this study, it also has to be seen as something else: a deliberate act, as opposed to just random violence. Individuals (or groups or nations) can experience terror that derives from accident or even natural events. Here, by contrast, the element of deliberation is crucial, a conscious act. That definition can also cover acts of nihilism—given that just seeking to cause destruction, as of a particular social order, can be seen as purposeful in regard to promoting change.

Keywords: terrorism, war, warfare, violence, fear, deliberate act

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