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Module Code: POU44361

Module Name: Terrorism 2021-22

  • ECTS Weighting: 5
  • Semester/Term Taught: Semester 1
  • Contact Hours: One 90-minute seminar per week
  • Module Personnel: Lecturer - Dr Christian Oswald
  • Office Hours: TBA

Learning Aims

This module aims to introduce students to the state of current research on terrorism and war. Students will gain a thorough understanding of (a) the causes of terrorism, its history and various forms, as well as the profile of terrorists and their strategies; and (b) the consequences of terrorism, its effectiveness, as well as counterterrorism approaches and the effect of terrorism on societies and public opinion.


Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:

  • Understand what factors increase the risk of terrorism; what explains the variation in the occurrence of terrorism across countries and cross-borders; how terrorists are recruited and their profile.
  • Appreciate how terrorism affect societies and how populations react.
  • Understand the goals and strategies and organisational structures of terrorists groups (including suicide terrorists); as well as their respective effectiveness.
  • Describe counterterrorism approaches efforts
  • Appreciate how the research agenda on terrorism has developed both theoretically and empirically over time.
  • Identify current gaps in the research agenda and potential opportunities for scholarly contributions.

Module Content

This module examines the state of current research on the causes and effects of domestic and international terrorism. The first half of the module focuses mainly on the origins, causes, and strategies of terrorist activities: what makes terrorism more likely? Why are some countries more targeted than others? Why does terrorism emergence in some conflict but not others. We will also discuss the structure of terrorist organizations and their various strategies, including recruitment. In the second half, we will focus on the effect of terrorism on their targets. How effective is terrorism at changing political attitudes and at forcing political changes? How does public opinion react? Does terrorism work, and what works to prevent it?

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Recommended Reading List

- Bruce Hoffman. Inside Terrorism. Columbia University Press, 2006.
- Louise Richardson. What Terrorists Want – Understanding the Enemy, Containing the Threat. Random House, 2006.
- Pape, Robert. Dying to win: The strategic logic of suicide terrorism. Random House, 2006.
- Enders, Walter, and Todd Sandler. The political economy of terrorism. Cambridge University Press, 2011.


Assessment Details - TBC

Essay 40%
90-minute examination 60%

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