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Prior to 9/11 criminologists paid relatively little attention to the study of terrorism. In 2004, the authors argued that criminologists had much to offer to advance our…
Prior to 9/11 criminologists paid relatively little attention to the study of terrorism. In 2004, the authors argued that criminologists had much to offer to advance our understanding of terrorism and urged scholars to conduct such research. This chapter accounts the theoretical and methodological contributions by the field of criminology to terrorist research.
This chapter demonstrates how the study of terrorism has begun to get more attention in various professional settings of criminology. It then reviews applications of criminological theory and methodological advances by criminologist to terrorism research. It ends by describing efforts to build terrorism event databases.
Terrorism-related research has become common at both of the major criminological professional association meetings. Funding for research on terrorism, especially a large program on domestic extremism sponsored by the National Institute of Justice, has contributed to a growing research literature. Academic courses on terrorism have also been added to criminology programs around the country. While the criminological literature on terrorism has expanded greatly more progress has been made in applying criminological methods than theories to the study of terrorism. To date the most common theoretical perspective from criminology applied to terrorism studies has been rational choice and deterrence.
This chapter takes inventory on how criminology has contributed to terrorism research. It serves to validate current efforts while encouraging continued progress.
Although typologies of violence have become more common, relatively little attention has been given to Donald Black’s (1983) distinction between moralistic and predatory violence. Moralistic violence is rooted in conflict; predatory violence is rooted in exploitation. We elaborate Black’s typology and show how it is similar to, but distinct from, other typologies of violence. We also address the criteria by which typologies of any kind might be judged. Borrowing from the literatures on typologies and on standards of scientific theory, we argue that explanatory typologies should be evaluated according to four criteria: the degree to which they are powerful, theoretical, general, and parsimonious. Applying the criteria to Black’s typology, we argue that the distinction between moralistic and predatory violence is an important contribution to the arsenal of the student of violence.
Richard Ericson’s work taught us much about how institutional narratives reflect and promote social control. He demonstrated how institutional logics delineated the…
Richard Ericson’s work taught us much about how institutional narratives reflect and promote social control. He demonstrated how institutional logics delineated the origin, nature, communicative forms and formats, and consequences of bureaucratic reasoning on a range of significant sociological topics, particularly power and social control. His contributions also illuminated how social institutions differ in social power, as well as the dominance of certain communication formats that, on the one hand, bind institutions to contemporary mass media forms that reached divergent audiences, while one the other hand, show that there is an institutional order and hierarchy that shape social policies and practices. This chapter examines some aspects of the organizational narrative about “terrorism” and highlights the reemergence of the “National Security University,” or a generic composite of direct relationships between the national security agencies and university administrations, academic programs, research support and agendas, as well as special academic lectures, colloquia, etc. Specifically, I wish to raise some issues surrounding the more recent pursuit of academic advice and legitimacy following the 9/11 “terror” attacks on the United States. Supported by the rhetoric of a never ending battle against terrorism, government and military “knowledge brokers” invited – and paid – academics to join in the fight, and they accepted it overwhelmingly.