Counter-Terrorism and State Political Violence: The 'War on Terror' as Terror, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Counter-Terrorism and State Political Violence

The 'War on Terror' as Terror, 1st Edition

Edited by Scott Poynting, David Whyte


264 pages

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This edited volume aims to deepen our understanding of state power through a series of case studies of political violence arising from state ‘counter-terrorism’ strategies.

The book examines how state counter-terrorism strategies are invariably underpinned by terror, in the form of state political violence. It seeks to answer three key questions:

  • To what extent can counter-terror strategies be read as a form of state terror?
  • How fundamental is state terror to the maintenance of a neo-liberal social order?
  • What are the features of counter-terrorism that render it so easily reducible to state terror?

In order to explore these issues, and to reach an understanding of what it means to say that the ‘war on terror’ is terror , the contributing authors draw upon case studies from a range of geographical contexts including the UK and Northern Ireland, the US and Colombia, and Sri Lanka and Tamil Eelam. Analysing these case studies from a psychological-warfare and hegemonic perspective, the book also includes two chapters from Noam Chomsky and John Pilger, which provide a global and historical context.

This book will be of great interest to students of critical terrorism studies, political violence, war and conflict studies, sociology, international security and IR.

Table of Contents

Introduction, Scott Poynting and David Whyte 1. Counterterrorism as Counterinsurgency in the UK ‘War on Terror’, David Miller and Rizwaan Sabir 2. Shoot-To-Kill Counter-Suicide Terrorism: Anatomy of Undemocratic Policing, Graham Smith 3. British Counter-insurgency Practice in Northern Ireland in the 1970s – A Legitimate Response or State Terror?, Paul O’Connor and Alan Brecknell 4. Masters of Terror, Noam Chomsky 5. The Great Game, John Pilger 6. One More Successful War? Tamil Diaspora and Counter-Terrorism after the LTTE, Vicki Sentas 7. ‘No permission to shoot in Gaza is necessary’: Israeli State Terror against Palestinians in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, Victoria Mason 8. Untouchable Compradores? Colombian State Narco-Terrorism and the People’s Struggle for National Liberation, Oliver Villar 9. The Criminalisation of Anti-Colonial Struggle in Puerto Rico, José M. Atiles-Osoria 10.‘War on Terror’ and Spanish State Violence Against Basque Political Dissent, Pablo Ciocchini and Stephanie Khoury 11. Indonesian State Terror in Timor-Leste and West Papua, Elizabeth Stanley 12. Al Qaeda in the West, for the West, Jeremy H. Keenan

About the Editors

Scott Poynting is Professor of Sociology at Manchester Metropolitan University. He is co-author of, among other books, Bin Laden in the Suburbs: Criminalising the Arab Other (Sydney Institute of Criminology, 2004) and Kebabs, Kids, Cops and Crime: Youth, Ethnicity and Crime (Pluto Press, 2000).

David Whyte is Reader in Sociology at the University of Liverpool. He is co-author of Safety Crimes (Willan, 2007), co-editor of Unmasking the Crimes of the Powerful (Peter Lang, 2003) and author of State, Crime, Power (Sage, 2009).

About the Series

Routledge Critical Terrorism Studies

This book series will publish rigorous and innovative studies on all aspects of terrorism, counter-terrorism and state terror. It seeks to advance a new generation of thinking on traditional subjects, investigate topics frequently overlooked in orthodox accounts of terrorism and to apply knowledge from disciplines beyond International Relations and Security Studies. Books in this series will typically adopt approaches informed by critical-normative theory, post-positivist methodologies and non-Western perspectives, as well as rigorous and reflective orthodox terrorism studies.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Military / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Terrorism
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General