1st Edition

Ethics and Terrorism

Edited By Max Taylor, John Horgan Copyright 2022
    202 Pages
    by Routledge

    202 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book provides a unique insight into the ethical issues and dilemmas facing practitioners and researchers of terrorism and counterterrorism.

    Ethics play a central if, largely, unrecognised role in most, if not all, issues relevant to terrorism and political violence. These are often most noticeable regarding counterterrorism controversies, while often virtually absent from discussions about academic research practice. At a minimum, ethical issues as they relate to terrorism have rarely been explicitly addressed in a direct or comprehensive manner. The chapters in this edited volume draws on the experience of both practitioners and researchers to explore how a regard to ethical issues might influence and determine research and practice in counter terrorism, and in our understanding of terrorism.

    Ethics and Terrorism recognizes that there are conflicting and often irreconcilable perspectives from which to view terrorism and terrorism research. In calling for greater attention to these issues, the goal is not to resolve problems, but to explore and clarify the assumptions and dilemmas that underpin our understanding of the personal, institutional and societal ethical boundaries and constraints around terrorism and responses to it. This book will be of value to practitioners and researchers, and to policy makers and the broader interested community.

    The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of the journal Terrorism and Political Violence.

    Introduction: Primum Non Nocere – First Do No Harm 
    Max Taylor and John Horgan 
    1. The Case of Jihadology and the Securitization of Academia 
    Aaron Y. Zelin 
    2. Terrorism Confidential: Ethics, Primary Data and the Construction of "Necessary Fictions" 
    Michele Grossman and Vivian Gerrand 
    3. Back to the Dark Side: Explaining the CIA’s Repeated Use of Torture 
    Adam D. Jacobson 
    4. The Development of the Framework for Research Ethics in Terrorism Studies (FRETS) 
    John Morrison, Andrew Silke and Eke Bont 
    5. The Ethical Limits We Should Place on Intelligence Gathering as Part of an Integrated CT Strategy 
    David Omand 
    6. The Implication of Terrorism’s Extremely Low Base Rate 
    Marc Sageman 
    7. When Fieldwork Ends: Navigating Ongoing Contact with Former Insurgents 
    Rachel Schmidt 
    8. A Public Health Ethics Model of Countering Violent Extremism 
    Neil D. Shortland, Nicholas Evans and John Colautti 
    9. Counterterrorism within the Rule of Law? Rhetoric and Reality with Special Reference to the United Kingdom 
    Clive Walker 
    10. Targeted Killings: Ethical & Operational Dilemmas 
    Boaz Ganor 
    11. Online Extremism and Terrorism Research Ethics: Researcher Safety, Informed Consent, and the Need for Tailored Guidelines 
    Maura Conway 
    12. The Conflict Sensitivity Principle: Can Best Practice in Conflict Research Fill the Ethics Gap in Terrorism and Counterterrorism Research Practice? 
    Manuel Castro e Almeida and Alistair Harris 
    13. Reconsidering Early Detection in Countering Radicalization by Local Frontline Professionals 
    Annemarie van de Weert and Quirine Eijkman 


    Max Taylor is forensic and legal psychologist with wide international experience of research and consultancy. He has specialised in terrorism studies and is widely published in the area. He was one of the first investigators exploring psychological factors in the development of terrorism, and in exploring links between situational crime analysis and terrorist behaviour. He is currently a Visiting Professor at University College London (former academic posts have included Professor of Applied Psychology at University College Cork and Professor in International Relations at the University of St Andrews).

    John Horgan is Distinguished University Professor of Psychology at Georgia State University where he directs the Violent Extremism Research Group. His research addresses psychological aspects of terrorism and political violence with a focus on pathways into, though, and out of terrorism.