A Critical View of Critical Terrorism Studies

James M. Lutz


The Critical Terrorism Studies (CTS) approach has appeared as a subfield or alternative perspective in the broader field of Terrorism Studies.  This approach has given important attention to the role that states and government agencies can play when  using violence against their own citizens or against the citizens of foreign countries.  While the CTS approach has been important in terms of the drawing attention  to the use of terrorism by states, a certain amount of caution is necessary  when evaluating some of the basic claims frequently made by those committed to the CTS approach.  Key issues that need to be considered in terms of this approach include the argument that state activities have been widely ignored, the failure to make a distinction between state repression and state terrorism, the failure to make the rather fine distinction between terror and terrorism, and finally—related to the above—the fact that not everything that is violent and  evil qualifies as terrorism, including the adoption of counterterrorism techniques that involve excessive use of force or violate civil liberties.

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Perspectives on Terrorism is  a journal of the Terrorism Research Initiative and the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies

ISSN  2334-3745 (Online)

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