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date: 28 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In this chapter we focus on non-state actors as perpetrators of political violence. In particular we focus on organized and higher-level forms of political violence, rather than on smaller-scale and less organized forms of violence that occur during street demonstrations or in the form of riots. Yet we explicitly emphasize that different forms of political violence are interlinked and are part of a continuum of violent tactics. We discuss how social movement scholars have, in past decades, approached and analyzed political violence, introducing a perspective which entails the contextualization of the phenomenon. We also trace the development of the field in cognate areas of research dealing with political violence, such as: terrorism studies, research on militant Islamism, and civil war. In the concluding section we suggest a possible direction for future research on political violence, recognizing the achievements of the social movements field so far.

Keywords: civil wars, contentious politics, militant Islamism, social movements, radicalism, repertoires, riots, terrorism

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