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Terrorism Studies

Laurie Taylor explores a new academic field emerging from the post 9/11 world. Also, support for political violence in Pakistan.

'Terrorism Studies' - how it emerged as a new academic field in the post 9/11 world. Laurie Taylor talks to Harvard social scientist, Lisa Stampinitzky, about the themes of her new book "Disciplining Terror: How Experts Invented 'Terrorism' ". She argues that terrorists are now constructed as pathological and evil personalities who are beyond our understanding, unlike the pre 70s era when the acts of political violence, that we now call terrorism, were seen as the work of rational actors with strategic goals. This transformation of political violence into terrorism is held to have led to the current 'war on terror'. Drawing on archival research as well as interviews with terrorism experts, she traces the struggles through which experts made terrorism, and terrorism made experts. John Bew, a British expert on terrorism, considers and contests the arguments.

Also, Christine Fair discusses a groundbreaking study which finds that support for political violence in Pakistan is lower amongst the poor than the middle classes.

Producer: Jayne Egerton.

Available now

28 minutes

Christine Fair

Assistant Professor in the Centre for Peace and Security Studies at the University of Georgetown



Find out more about Dr C. Christine Fair



Abstract: Poverty and Support for Militant Politics: Evidence from Pakistan

Graeme Blair, C. Christine Fair, Neil Malhotra, Jacob N. Shapiro

DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-5907.2012.00604.x

American Journal of Political Science

Volume 57, Issue 1, pages 30–48, January 2013

Lisa Stampnitzky

Lecturer on Social Studies at Harvard University  

Find out more about Lisa Stampnitzky



Disciplining Terror: How Experts Invented 'Terrorism'
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN-10: 1107026636
ISBN-13: 978-1107026636

John Bew

Reader in History and Foreign Policy at the War Studies Department at King’s College London



Find out more about Dr John Bew  


Castlereagh: Enlightenment, War and Tyranny
Publisher: Quercus
ISBN-10: 0857381865
ISBN-13: 978-0857381866



Talking to Terrorists: Making Peace in Northern Ireland and the Basque Country
John Bew, Martyn Frampton, Inigo Gurruchaga (Authors)
Publisher: C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd
ISBN-10: 1850659672
ISBN-13: 978-1850659679

Ethnography Award

Thinking Allowed in association with the British Sociological Association announces a new annual award for a study that has made a significant contribution to ethnography: the in-depth analysis of the everyday life of a culture or sub-culture.


Are you involved in social science research and completing or will have completed an ethnography this year? The Award is open to any UK resident currently employed as a teacher or researcher or studying as a postgraduate in a UK institution of higher education.


An entry should be a completed ethnography, a qualitative research project which provides a detailed description of the practices of a group or culture. Any sole authored book or peer reviewed research article published during the calendar year of the award will be eligible.


The judges for the Award are Professor Dick Hobbs, Professor Henrietta Moore, Dr Louise Westmarland, Professor Bev Skeggs. The Chair is Professor Laurie Taylor. (Please do not contact any judges directly).



Find out more on how to participate


  • Wed 10 Jul 2013 16:00
  • Mon 15 Jul 2013 00:15

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