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A History of Counter-Terrorism (1945-2005)

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Title A History of Counter-Terrorism (1945-2005)
Period 03 / 2007 - 02 / 2012
Status Current
Research number OND1315506
Data Supplier Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek - NWO

Abstract

The aim of the research project is to investigate the counter-terrorism measures that have been instituted by states since 1945. The state has several instruments available to deal with terrorist activity; first, police forces, and second, the army, third, judicial instruments and fourth, political and socio-economic instruments. The repressive -or security and judicial- approach has dominated the debate in counter-terrorism studies. Especially, the apparent contradiction between democracy and state repression of terrorism has received a lot of attention. The evidence, existing studies present about the effectiveness of these measures, is contradictory. Although the repressive approach dominates state practice, it seems to sort little effect. All existing studies heavily emphasise the period since the 1960s and are almost exclusively centred on Western examples. Based on a series of non-Western case studies, the project will compare state policies aimed at combating terrorism around the world since 1945. The investigations will test, on the basis of historical and empirical evidence, the hypothesis that the soft socio-economic approach is more effective than the repressive security and judicial approach in decreasing terrorist activity. The study aims to shift the dominant focus from Western cases of counter-terrorism towards a more historical and, importantly, non-Western perspective on the effectiveness of counter-terrorism. By basing the investigations on historical evidence it will fortify the very weak empirical foundations of terrorism studies. The aim of the proposed research project is to investigate the success and failure of past counter-terrorism campaigns. The idea is to identify those factors that have contributed to reducing or eliminating terrorist threats in the period since 1945. The relevance of the project can be found in the contribution it aims to make towards reassessing and refining current counter-terrorism instruments. The state has several instruments available to deal with terrorist activity. First, police forces can be used to observe and apprehend terrorist suspects. Second, the army can be deployed to fight war against terrorist states. Third, judicial instruments can be employed to detain and prosecute terrorists. Fourth, political and socio-economic instruments can be used to remedy societal problems that cause terrorism. The repressive approach, using the police, the army and the judiciary has dominated state practice. However, the effectiveness of these measures has never been proven in a conclusive way. The studies that have attempted to deal with the question of the effects of counter-terrorism measures, almost exclusively deal with Western examples in the period since the 1960s. The proposed project aims to investigate state policies aimed at combating terrorism around based on a more representative sample of counter-terrorism activities. The project will focus on a series of non-Western case studies and the period of investigation will be from 1945 till 2005. The aim is to test the following hypothesis; 'the soft socio-economic approach is more effective than the repressive security and judicial approach in decreasing terrorist activity'. The reason why it is interesting to test the effects of the non-repressive approach is that it has been seriously under-represented and it has previously lead to rather paradoxical results of both increasing and decreasing terrorism. By basing the investigations on historical evidence, the project will fortify the very weak empirical foundations of terrorism studies.

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Classification

A87000 Political relations and international relations
D34500 Contemporary history

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