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Why Do We Know So Little About Terrorism?

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  • Ignacio Sánchez-Cuenca

Abstract

We have less substantive knowledge about terrorism than about civil war, interstate war, genocide, or ethnic violence. I argue that this is due to the ambiguity of the concept of “terrorism.” This ambiguity hinders empirical research, making the selection of cases for empirical research a contentious issue. Today, most scholars avoid the issue by relying on the existing datasets, without questioning the coding rules. But a close look at these rules reveals that they do not escape from the intrinsic ambiguity of the concept. I argue for a better integration between thick description and statistical analysis of terrorism as a way of overcoming the disagreements on the nature of terrorist violence.

Suggested Citation

  • Ignacio Sánchez-Cuenca, 2014. "Why Do We Know So Little About Terrorism?," International Interactions, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(4), pages 590-601, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:ginixx:v:40:y:2014:i:4:p:590-601
    DOI: 10.1080/03050629.2014.899224
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    References listed on IDEAS

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