About the Concept of Terrorism: Searching for a Common Definition

Author/s Fiammetta Berardo
Publishing Year 2015 Issue 2014/2
Language Italian Pages 22 P. 115-136 File size 123 KB
DOI 10.3280/MON2014-002005
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The article moves from the hundreds of different definitions of terrorism existing in International Politics literature, as well as International Law studies. It explains the reasons for the flourishing of so many contradictory interpretations looking into the interlace between terrorism and politics and into the broader international dimension of this phenomenon. The link between terrorism and politics makes any definition vulnerable to the ambiguity of the political discourse and to the risk of manipulation. The international dimension of terrorism, moreover, has introduced in the theoretical debate such related concepts as war and the fight for freedom which, depending on individual State interests, have often been confused with terrorism. At the same time, legal studies cannot endorse inaccurate or conflicting definitions, since legal bodies would risk the non-enforcement of legal provisions or the renouncement to pursue a specific crime. The greatest effort to reach a widespread commonly shared definition has been made, indeed, by International Law scholars. Nevertheless, they did not manage to go beyond all those cultural and political contradictions that affect the definition of terrorism, even more after 9/11, when the enhanced importance of suicide attacks has made the landscape of sociological analysis in this field even more complicated.

Keywords: Definitions on terrorism, kinds of terrorism, International law, International politics, September the 11th, UN Conventions

Fiammetta Berardo, Sulla definizione di terrorismo: alla ricerca di un consenso in "MONDO CONTEMPORANEO" 2/2014, pp 115-136, DOI: 10.3280/MON2014-002005