New Book: Constructions of Terrorism

The Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies is excited to announce publication of a new book: Constructions of Terrorism: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Research and Policy. Published by the University of California Press, this book is a product of the Constructions of Terrorism research agreement between the Orfalea Center and TRENDS Research & Advisory.

Discussions about the meaning of terrorism are enduring in everyday language, government policy, news reporting, and international politics.  And disagreements about both the definition and the class of violent events that constitute terrorism contribute to the difficulty of formulating effective responses aimed at the prevention and management of the threat of terrorism and the development of counterterrorism policies.  Constructions of Terrorism collects works from the leading scholars on terrorism from an array of disciplines—including communication, political science, sociology, global studies, and public policy—to establish appropriate research frameworks for understanding how we construct our understanding of terrorism.

With contributions from Orfalea Center scholars Richard Falk, Mark Juergensmeyer, Scott Englund, Benjamin K. Smith, Andrea Fiqueroa-Caballero, and Michael Stohl; edited by Michael Stohl, Richard Burchill (TRENDS) and Scott Englund. This book is a compiliation of the research presented at the first Constructions of Terrorism conference, held in Santa Barbara in December of 2015.

Read the introductory chapter


In a crowded field, Constructions of Terrorism stands out for its analytically and empirically rigorous analysis of the multiplicity of ways in which ‘terrorism’ is understood, studied, and countered today. In an outstanding and refreshingly coherent volume, a distinguished group of scholars from a number of different disciplinary perspectives, provides much-needed clarity and insight on a particularly tricky problem: What exactly is terrorism, and how can we best understand it? This original collection needs to be widely read by journalists, politicians, counter-terrorism officials, new and established scholars, and anyone who wants to better understand political violence today.
–Richard Jackson, University of Otago, New Zealand

“This volume seeks to look at terrorism from many angles, with some of the best minds in the field of terrorism studies coming up with new insights into a phenomenon that has baffled policymakers for decades. Counter-terrorism would be less counterproductive if policymakers would take heed of their advice.”
–Alex P. Schmid,  Research Fellow and Director of the Terrorism Research Initiative at the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism, The Hague

Page Editor

Ben Smith
Ben Smith
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