Andrew Silke

Andrew Silke
Cranfield University · Cranfield Forensic Institute

BSc (Hons); PhD

About

86
Publications
132,135
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Introduction
For a fuller list of my publications I recommend my google scholar profile. For those who would like to read more of my work, please check out my academia.edu page - https://uel.academia.edu/AndrewSilke - which has many of my papers available to download.

Publications

Publications (86)
Article
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The 1916 Rising was, in military terms, a shambolic failure. Despite the fact that Britain was locked in a gruelling struggle with Germany, the Rising was still utterly crushed within a week. How then, in the aftermath of victory against Germany, did Britain fail to win the subsequent struggle with the IRA between 1919 and 1921? This article assess...
Chapter
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Understanding why individuals engage in terrorism remains a challenging and multi-dimensional problem. Evolutionary psychology, however, does offer a new approach to understanding one potentially critical factor for engaging in terrorism: the human propensity for altruism and punishment. We discuss the emerging evolutionary framework for understand...
Article
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In a context where widespread failings in the nature of terrorism research are well recognised - yet where the quantity of work is still enormous - is it possible to fairly assess whether the field is progressing or if it has become mired in mediocre research? Citation analysis is widely used to reveal the evolution and extent of progress in fields...
Chapter
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History and psychology give us some powerful tools for understanding suicide terrorism. History quickly teaches that this tactic is not the reserve of any one religion and there are many examples from the past of individuals with very different motivations who are willing to sacrifice their life in an effort to kill others. Thus it is a mistake to...
Article
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The “specificity problem” is one of the longest running unanswered questions in research on terrorism. This problem focuses on the fundamental question as to why do only a few people radicalize when many appear to have been exposed to at least some of the same causes of radicalization? The current study seeks to help answer that question through co...
Article
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Improving our understanding of how disengagement and deradicalisation from terrorism and violent extremism occurs has critical real-world implications. A systematic review of the recent literature in this area was conducted in order to develop a more refined and empirically-derived model of the processes involved. After screening more than 83,000 d...
Article
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This article introduces readers to the Framework for Research Ethics in Terrorism Studies (FRETS). FRETS has been developed to assist IRB/HREC chairs and reviewers in completing reviews of terrorism studies ethics proposals, in as objective a manner as possible. The framework consists of a series of yes/no questions for chairs and reviewers to answ...
Chapter
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Understanding the causes of terrorism represents an important step in anticipating the emergence of new terrorist campaigns and offers real potential to assist with mitigating the impact of terrorist conflicts. This paper argues that macro-level causes will be the main factors responsible for terrorism in the coming decades, and it explores emergin...
Article
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What is the risk of reoffending for released terrorist prisoners and what are appropriate processes and systems for managing and risk assessing such individuals? This paper explores these and related issues to help inform wider discussion and debates on appropriate policy in this area. The paper starts by critically analysing what we mean when we t...
Article
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Understanding terrorist innovation has emerged as a critical research question. Terrorist innovation challenges status quo assumptions about the nature of terrorist threats and emphasises a need for counterterrorism policy and practice to attempt to not simply react to changes in terrorist tactics and strategies but also to try to anticipate them....
Article
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As the international community grabbles with the COVID-19 pandemic it is already clear that the economic and social impact will be deep and long-lasting. Evidence suggests that COVID-19 is already having an impact on terrorism trends across the globe and it is worth considering in more detail the potential impact of the pandemic on terrorism threat...
Article
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This paper presents a systematic review of organised crime data collection and analysis methods. It did this by reviewing all papers published in Trends in Organized Crime and Global Crime between 2004 and 2018 (N = 463). The review identified a number of key weaknesses. First, organised crime research is dominated by secondary data analysis of ope...
Chapter
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Prisons and madrassas have both been repeatedly flagged in UK government policy as high risk settings for jihadist radicalisation. Some theoretical models of the radicalisation process have also drawn attention to these spaces. This review found that there have been cases of radicalisation or attempted radicalisation in both prison settings and mad...
Chapter
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Terrorism is too important a subject for us not to be interested in what causes it. The past decade alone has seen considerable progress in identifying the role and significance of a range of factors. It is critical to recognise that causes can operate at different levels: from large-scale geo-political processes to mundane individual level persona...
Chapter
Placing state terrorism appropriately within the context of how we understand terrorism in general is incredibly difficult. There are important differences between campaigns of violence orchestrated by states, non-state groups and individuals. Already murky waters are muddied even further when consideration is given to how some counterterrorism pol...
Book
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This new Handbook provides a comprehensive, state-of-the-art overview of current knowledge and debates on terrorism and counterterrorism, as well as providing a benchmark for future research. The attacks of 9/11 and the 'global war on terror' and its various legacies have dominated international politics in the opening decades of the 21st century....
Article
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This paper provides a systematic overview of the emergence of organized crime in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland since the late 1960s. It draws on two major studies of organized crime in the South (Hourigan 2011) and paramilitary activity in the North (Morrison 2014) to explore how conflict within and between organized criminal and par...
Book
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In recent years, in the context of the War on Terror and globalization, there has been an increased interest in terrorism and organized crime in academia, yet historical research into such phenomena is relatively scarce. This book resets the balance and emphasizes the importance of historical research to understanding terrorism and organized crime....
Chapter
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The relationship between terrorism and organised crime is complex, and dependent on local context and actors, organisational structures and objectives. We argue that the study of history allows debates to be driven by more realistic and in-depth analysis rather than by the anxieties of the present. Further, historical accounts of organised crime an...
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Jamaat-al-Muslimeen (JAM) a little-known Islamic political group based in Trinidad and Tobago, illustrates almost every possible spectrum of the possible links, interactions and blurred lines found between organised crime and terrorism. This chapter explores the nature of JAM’s political and organised crime activities in Trinidad and Tobago, charti...
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Over the past decade, government policy has repeatedly identified prisons as particularly important environments in terms of both the risks of radicalisation and of opportunities for de-radicalisation. This paper provides an overview of some of the most important research findings that have emerged on prison and violent extremism in recent years. D...
Book
Terrorism is surrounded by myths. This book aims to look beyond these, and provide insight into how and why terrorism conflicts erupt, who are the terrorists and what motivates them, and why are governments often so bad at combatting this threat. The book highlights what is distinctive about modern terrorism, but argues that the lessons of history...
Chapter
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Our understanding of the risk assessment of terrorist and extremist prisoners is in its infancy, yet this is clearly a critical issue. How can one tell if a prisoner is still dangerous or not? What are valid measures to assess risk and what type of evidence is worth examining? In considering risk assessment of terrorists and extremists in prison se...
Book
This volume provides an overview of intervention and management strategies for dealing with terrorist and extremist offenders in prisons. The management of terrorist and extremist prisoners has long been recognised as a difficult problem in prisons. In most countries, such offenders are relatively rare, but when their numbers increase these priso...
Chapter
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Is the targeted assassination of suspected terrorists an effective strategy to follow? For some, targeted assassination is one of the most potent tools a state can deploy in countering a terrorist group. For others, it is a deeply flawed approach which creates at least as many problems as it solves. The targeted assassination of suspected terrorist...
Article
President Obama is showing astute caution in refusing to release the photos of Osama bin Laden's corpse, says Andrew Silke
Book
This edited book explores how psychology can be used to improve our understanding of terrorism and counterterrorism. The book starts by providing a balanced and objective insight into the psychology of terrorists; what their motivations are, what keeps them involved in terrorist groups, and what eventually forces most to end their active involvemen...
Book
This book outlines the progress, problems and challenges of delivering a safe and secure Olympics and other major sporting events in the context of serious and enduring terrorist threats. The enormous media profile and symbolic significance of the Olympic Games, the history of terrorists aiming to use such high-profile events to advance their cause...
Chapter
The management of politically motivated violent offenders has long been recognised as an exceptionally difficult problem for prisons. Critical issues include the reform of such prisoners and also the potential for wider radicalisation. Traditionally, such offenders have been relatively rare which has often masked these difficulties. However, when t...
Article
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Hostage-taking events remain one of the most common forms of international terrorism. Such events are particularly significant due to their very high media profile and the unique challenges and potentials they present to governments. Yet despite such importance, remarkably little systematic analysis of terrorist hostage-taking has taken place. This...
Article
Though the main loyalist groups have now been observing cease-fires for nearly five years, the fund-raising activities of these organizations has continued unabated. Following from the previous article on this subject, this paper gives an account of the various fund-raising methods which are currently being used by the loyalists. Particular attenti...
Chapter
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Violent extremist groups from a wide variety of backgrounds have long been recognized to be making extensive use of the internet. However, assessments of the cyber-terrorist threat have often been wastefully focused on issues and concerns which do not match fully with the reality of how terrorists are currently interested in the internet or on what...
Chapter
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The aim of this chapter is to provide a general review of research published in the core terrorism studies journals between 1990 and 2007. As such, this chapter seeks to build on a long history of past reviews and assessments of the literature which have attempted at various points to assess the state of the art on this subject. Terrorism has never...
Book
Terrorism informatics has been defined as the application of advanced methodologies, information fusion and analysis techniques to acquire, integrate process, analyze, and manage the diversity of terrorism-related information for international and homeland security-related applications. The wide variety of methods used in terrorism informatics are...
Chapter
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This survey of terrorism research focused on research studies published in the first five years after the 9/11 attacks. It highlights a number of positive trends which can be seen in this initial period after 9/11. To begin with, it is clear that more researchers are working on the subject than before and there has been a real increase in collabora...
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IntroductionThe Question of Deterrence‘wrath of Cod‘ and BeyondA Question of PopularitySalt in the WoundConclusion References
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IntroductionElsewhereBiological FactorsSocial Identification an DmarcinalisationThe Psychology of VengeanceStatus and Personal RewardsPress-Gancing and ConscriptionOpportunityConclusion References
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Article
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This paper aims to provide an overview of the psychology of individuals who join and engage in terrorism, and in particular of individuals who engage in jihadi-motivated terrorism such as that carried out by al-Qaeda and its affiliates. Based on the most reliable available evidence, this paper gives an account of the psychology and motivations of s...
Technical Report
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This concise Report was prepared to outline the current state of academic research on violent radicalisation. Radicalisation to any form of violence, including terrorist violence, is a gradual or phased process. The Report finds that there are remarkable similarities between radicalisation to current Islamist or jihadist terrorism and radicalisatio...
Chapter
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This chapter reviews some of the key findings from case studies of ten protracted terrorist/insurgent conflicts including those involving the IRA, ETA, Hezbollah, Hamas, LTTE, PKK, FARC, GAM, and others. In considering these different conflicts, the chapter attempts to draw out important lessons and insights, and argues a case for some general prop...
Chapter
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Prior to 9/11, the study of terrorism was carried out on the periphery of academia. The funding available for researchers was extremely limited and the number of researchers prepared to focus a substantial element of their careers on the subject was paltry. In most cases it was harmful to an academic or research career to follow such interests and...
Chapter
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Humans show an extraordinary capacity to survive in adverse situations. Although there are tragic instances of people who are permanently scarred by trauma, these are relatively few; the majority of those who are involved in violent or life-threatening events do not exhibit longterm symptoms of distress. On the whole, they recover and may even exhi...
Article
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The central argument of this paper is that suicide has had a long and explicit role in politics and in conflict. Turning to historical examples for insight offers many advantages to current efforts to understand and respond to suicide terrorism. In particular, it facilitates greater objectivity and a calmer consideration of the actors and circumsta...
Article
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Police investigations of terrorist incidents are rarely straightforward. This paper reports the findings of research that looked at low-level paramilitary attacks in Northern Ireland which have taken place during the ceasefire era. Of 500 incidents studied, 28 were followed by the arrest of suspects. The study examines what factors were important f...
Chapter
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When Hercules chopped-off a head of the Hydra, more simply grew in its place. On the verge of defeat in his battle with the creature, Hercules was only saved when his nephew, Iolaus, used fire to cauterise the Hydra’s wounds and thus prevented more heads from growing. This chapter considers why some counter-terrorism and anti-terrorism policies and...
Article
Children are all too often the victims of terrorist conflicts and, as the Beslan school siege tragically illustrated, this victimisation can be extreme, deliberate and intentional. While all victims of terrorism attract a special interest, child victims unquestionably attract the most. Following this, how terrorist groups and governments initiate a...
Chapter
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This chapter presents a review of the published research output on terrorism published in the leading specialist journals in the 1990s. Such a review can be useful in establishing and describing the wider context in which individual research efforts are carried out. Traditionally, terrorism research has suffered from a shortage of active investigat...
Chapter
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Research on terrorism has had a deeply troubled past. Frequently neglected and often overlooked, the science of terror has been conducted in the cracks and crevices of the large academic disciplines. There has been an almost chronic shortage of lasting researchers – a huge proportion of the literature is the work of fleeting visitors: individuals w...
Article
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In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on 9/11, controversy erupted when a handful of American commentators argued that the al-Qaeda hijackers displayed courage in their actions. In all cases, these comments provoked fierce and overwhelming criticism. Yet, were these views inaccurate? Inflammatory and controversial the statements certainly were,...
Book
This book brings together leading international experts in the world of terrorism research and counterterrorism policy-making. It has three clear areas of focus: it looks at current issues and trends in terrorism research, it explores how contemporary research on terrorism is focused and conducted, it examines how this research impacts in terms of...
Article
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While considerable concerns have been raised about crime and deviancy on the Internet, relatively little research has looked closely at the subject. This paper describes a study on criminal and deviant behaviour that occurred on a World Wide Web site. The Cyber Magpie website was established to determine whether people who visited for the purposes...
Article
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The author examined the relation between anonymity and aggression in violent interpersonal assaults that occurred in Northern Ireland. Of the 500 violent attacks that the author studied, 206 were carried out by offenders who wore disguises to mask their identities. The findings revealed that significant positive relationships existed between the us...
Article
It is much easier to condemn terrorism than it is to comprehend it, yet outrage and horror can never be the sole foundation on which to build an accurate understanding of even the worst terrorist atrocities. Terrorism is not a simple phenomenon with easy explanations and direct solutions. Yet the effort devoted to gaining an objective understanding...
Book
In today's climate, these is a powerful need for a balanced, expert and accessible account of the psychology of terrorists and terrorism. Written by an expert team of psychologists and psychiatrists, these contributors have direct experience of working with terrorists, victims and those tasked with the enormous responsibility of attempting to comb...
Article
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Paramilitary vigilantism in Northern Ireland has increased dramatically in the wake of the 1994 cease-fires, and is increasingly threatening to destabilise the peace process. Yet despite the long history of vigilantism in Northern Ireland and the unprecedented attention the activity is now attracting, virtually no empirical research has been carrie...
Article
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In a review in 1988, Schmid and Jongman identified a number of key problems in research on terrorism. These included serious concerns with the methodologies being used by researchers to gather data and with the level of analysis that was undertaken once data was available. Following on from this work, this article draws on a review of research publ...
Article
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Vigilantes pose an unusual problem for law enforcement agencies. On the one hand, police officers can understand where the vigilantes are coming from and even share some satisfaction in the ad hoc punishment meted out to suspected criminals. On the other hand, vigilantes often break the law in their efforts to punish alleged wrong-doers, and someti...
Chapter
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Offender profiling techniques have been used in a growing number of terrorism investigations. This chapter examines and assesses the potential and effectiveness of applying offender profiling to the investigation of terrorist offences. The chapter provides an overview of profiling and the theoretical basis for its use in profiling terrorists. A num...
Article
Starting from Mao's well‐known metaphor of ‘water and fish’, this article examines the nature of power as it applies to terrorist groups. Terrorists are under constant pressure actively to increase their influence and control over their constituent communities. Our understandings of how terrorist groups can do this has generally suffered from being...
Article
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Paramilitary vigilantism has been a feature of conflict in Northern Ireland since the earliest days of the Troubles. In that time, the vigilante campaigns have left over 115 people dead and more than 4,000 injured. Yet despite this toll, remarkably little research has been carried out on the subject. Now, in the sixth year since the 1994 ceasefires...
Article
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Paramilitary involvement in vigilantism continues to be a significant problem in cease-fire Northern lreland. This paper examines how the vigilantism has been perceived by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) both at an official level and unofficial level. The paper outlines the role the RUC played in the development of organised vigilante systems w...
Article
Full-text available
Paramilitary vigilantism has been a feature of conflict in Northern Ireland since the earliest days of the Troubles. In that time, the vigilante campaigns have left over 115 people dead and more than 4,000 injured. Yet despite this toll, remarkably little research has been carried out on the subject. Now, in the fifth year since the 1994 cease-fire...
Article
Loyalist paramilitaries have been carrying out vigilante attacks since the earliest years of the Troubles. In four of the past six years, they have actually carried out more vigilante attacks than republican paramilitaries. Yet despite this history, virtually nothing has been written about this aspect of paramilitarism in Northern Ireland. This art...
Article
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The 40‐month period which has followed the introduction of the IRA's 1994 cease‐fire has witnessed the most intensive vigilante campaign ever carried out by the movement. A commitment to vigilantism has profoundly affected the evolution of both the policy and structure of Sinn Féin and the IRA. However, vigilantism bears costs for the two organizat...
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Using an encounter from Alice In Wonderland as a metaphor, this article examines the long-running attempt to apply a psychopathology label to terrorists. The disorders of greatest interest to researchers (antisocial, narcissistic and paranoid personality disorders), are described in order to highlight their attraction for theorists. A review of evi...
Article
The revival of loyalist terrorism has been one of the most important developments in Northern Ireland in the 1990s. This article examines the recent fund‐raising activities of the two main loyalist paramilitary groups, the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) and the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). The article focuses particularly on the financial import...
Article
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Paramilitary groups in Northern lreland have been involved in vigilantisru since the earliest years of the Troubles. With the onset of the terrorist ceasefires in 1994, vigílante attacks dramatically increased in both frequency and severity. Showing no signs of diminishing, the vigilantism has now become one of the most sensitive and critical issue...
Article
Case studies of terrorist groups from before 1900 are rare and only a handful have been fully detailed in the terrorism literature. This article describes one such group, the shishi, a radical samurai movement which waged a terrorist campaign in Japan just prior to the Meiji Restoration. Placed in context, the origin, structure and methods of this...
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Terrorism is best understood as a form of warfare. Considerable division exists among researchers on the issue of defining terrorism. A minority propose that terrorism is a form of warfare, possibly identical to guerrilla warfare. However, the majority disagree with this position, instead viewing terrorism as a distinct and separate phenomenon. Thi...

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Projects (5)
Project
This UKRI Research England funded virtual seminar series focuses on technical topics related to terrorism risk assessment, modelling and mitigation. The emphasis of the seminar series is on technical (STEM-related) aspects of this area, rather than social or political topics. Possible topics include (but are not limited to) the following: • blast modelling and response; • IEDs; • vehicles as weapons; • CBRN; • big data for risk assessment, security and screening; • mitigation measures. Specific examples of topics included in the series range from single-degree-of-freedom (SDOF) analysis methods for blast response to modelling the use of vehicles as weapons via vehicle-dynamics models. Participants in the series come from various academic, research and industrial organisations, including several universities and world-wide industry partners. The focus of the seminar series is in technical, STEM-related areas of counterterrorism research, but participants may have relevant expertise in a wide variety of subject areas, ranging from engineering to insurance. Seminars have no security classification and are open to guests from bona fide organisations; we encourage external guests with appropriate affiliations to attend. The series is currently held in a virtual format. Face-to-face or hybrid formats may be considered in the future.
Project
Where is research on terrorism going? What are the big questions? How can they be answered? Terrorism and counterterrorism have always been challenging subjects to study. Emotive and controversial, throughout the 20th century the study of both lurked on the fringes of scientific research. There were few scholars willing to commit their careers to the area, funding was extremely limited, and inside and outside of academia there were plenty who questioned whether terrorism and counterterrorism were even appropriate subjects for scientific study, and questioned too the motives of any researcher willing to explore such controversial issues. The attacks of 9/11 heralded a huge increase in political, public and academic interest in terrorism and counterterrorism. The ‘global war on terror’ and its various legacies have dominated international politics in the opening decades of the 21st century. Never before in history have the issues of what causes terrorism and how should it be combatted attracted so much attention and controversy. The study of terrorism itself has been catapulted from academic obscurity to a mainstream multi-disciplinary subject routinely taught at most universities. Terrorism Studies now produces an unprecedented level of research and writing, though the quality of much of this leaves something to be desired, at times suffering from weak research methods, conceptual confusion and political bias. And yet, while there are certainly problems, overall, terrorism research is still remarkably vibrant and prolific, and amid a herd of mediocre studies in many areas there are still real gems which offer findings of genuine progress and insight. Overall, it is very likely that future scholars will look back at this period as a critically important and transformational phase for research on terrorism and counterterrorism. Bearing in mind this rich and varied context, A Research Agenda for Terrorism Studies aims to provide a wide-ranging overview of the current state of and recent trends in terrorism research, to explore its strengths and weaknesses, the impact it is having (or is failing to have) on policy and practice, and crucially on the future directions terrorism studies could and should take. Currently drawing on the work of 26 contributors, the finished volume will be published in 2021 by Edward Elgar Publishing as part of their Research Agenda series. The Elgar Research Agendas outline the future of research in a given area and provide leading scholars with the space to explore their subject in provocative ways, and map out the potential directions of travel. They are intended to be relevant but also visionary. The collection’s draft titles are included and periodic updates will follow.
Project
This is a call for a journal special issue to bring together original studies to examine the links between climate change and terrorism. Climate change is increasingly recognised as a strategic security concern for most states and its seriousness in this regard is growing rapidly. We are already seeing climate change impacting and becoming a significant driver for low intensity and terrorist conflicts in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Its significance as a factor in terrorism in the coming decades looks only set to increase but our understanding of the processes and dynamics involved is in its infancy. This Special Issue will help to set the foundation and establish frameworks for how we understand and think about the role climate change can have in terrorist conflicts. Over the coming years, the harsh reality is that we can expect to see climate change playing an increased role in setting terrorist conflicts in motion. At the moment, we are seeing a gradual awakening to some of the problems that lie ahead, but there is urgent need for research that can engage with this issue, to help understand how climate change will impact on the threat of terrorism and what can really work when we think about counterterrorism in such contexts. Articles are encouraged and invited from a wide range of perspectives and disciplines. Among the topics of interest include: •How does climate change fit as a cause of terrorism? •How will climate change link with ideology? •What roles will population growth, migration and climate change play? •Regional and historical case studies •Identifying future terrorism hotspots? •What will be the impact of climate change on counter terrorism? Expressions of interest should be emailed no later than October 5, 2019. Please email an abstract of 250 words or less (including the author’s name, title, institutional affiliation with complete address, email and phone contact information) to one of the guest editors. Further details, including deadlines for completed articles, will be circulated in October. For any questions or suggestions regarding the special issue please email one of the guest editors: Andrew Silke (a.silke@cranfield.ac.uk) or John Morrison (John.Morrison@rhul.ac.uk).