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International Terrorism - Current Research and Future Directions

NCJ Number
A D Buckley, D D Olson
Date Published
118 pages
The complex nature of international terrorism is analyzed in eight articles which all use one of three scholarly approaches: the historical, the normative/instrumental, and the behavioral.
The historical approach involves the collection of data on past acts of terrorism, often relating such acts to the unique sociopolitical characteristics of the participants and victims. Two essays present historical narratives of Palestinian and Irish terror, while another article uses past trends in terror to extrapolate future trends in such activities. The normative/instrumental approach holds that terrorism poses a major threat to today's political order. Means whereby such activities can be controlled or eliminated are described. Other essays deal with the contributions that social scientists can make to law enforcement, possible legal regimes for the control of terrorist activities, and the responsibility of the media in free societies to report but not encourage terrorism. The behavioral approach is designed to isolate certain similarities and differences in terrorist organizations, capabilities, characteristics, and tactics so that this phenomenom can be more objectively understood as a form of political expression and behavior. Using this approach, one article presents a typology to analyze terrorist behavior using rigorous scientific methodology, and another essay applies the typology to the case of the Palestinian terrorists. Another discussion on mass destruction considers the range of weapons available to terrorists and then evaluates the utility of these weapons in terms of common terrorist skills and objectives. Photographs, tables, footnotes, and an index are provided. For individual essays, see NCJ 49994, 55404-5, 61089-90, 62163, 62343, and 69170. (Author abstract modified)