Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Walter Laquer in the TLS on the search for a general theory of terrorism

Walter Laquer, one of the handful of the finest theorists of the phenomenon of terrorism, has an outstanding review essay in the Times Literary Supplement of December 9, 2005, "To cut a throat slowly: The search for a general theory of terrorism." Here, at the TLS's new and much, much improved website.

A key point Laquer makes is that there is a

"tendency among authors (not only among political-science professors) not merely to describe an important and fascinating phenomenon, but to attempt to establish a general theory of terrorism and political violence. So far, no such theory has emerged and it is more than doubtful whether it ever will."

As a member myself of the editorial board of a journal called, in fact, the Journal of Terrorism and Political Violence, Lacquer captures my view entirely.

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