1st Edition

Victims of Political Violence and Terrorism Making Up Resilient Survivors

By William McGowan Copyright 2022
    274 Pages
    by Routledge

    274 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book examines the survivors of political violence and terrorism, considering both how they have responded and how they have been responded to following critical incidents. As this work demonstrates, survivors of comparatively rare and spectacular violence hold a mirror up to society’s normative assumptions around trauma, recovery, and resilience.

    Drawing on two years of observational field research with a British NGO who work with victims and former perpetrators of PVT, this book explores contested notions of ‘resilience’ and what it might mean for those negotiating the aftermaths of violence. Examining knowledge about resilience from a multitude of sources, including security policy, media, academic literature, and the survivors themselves, this book contends that in order to make empirical sense of resilience we must reckon with both its discursive and practical manifestations.

    An accessible and compelling read, this book will appeal to students and scholars of criminology, sociology, victimology, criminal justice, and all those interested in the stories of survivors.

    Introduction  Part 1 Resilience as Discourse and Practice  1. Setting the Scene of the ‘Terror– Trauma– Resilience’ Nexus in the 21st Century  2. To Survivors Themselves: Why, Where, and How to Study Survivors of Political Violence and Terrorism?  Part 2 Turning Points and Processes of Resilience  3. ‘Resilient’ to What? Mapping the Impacts of Political Violence and Terrorism  4. Sources of Resilience for Survivors  5. Exploring Temporalities of (In)Security and Resilience  Part 3 Repurposing Resilience  6. Temporality, Resistance, and Solidarity: The Making and Moulding of Resilient Survivor Communities  7. Am I Invictus?  Conclusion


    William McGowan is a Lecturer in the School of Justice Studies and member of the Centre for the Study of Crime, Criminalisation and Social Exclusion (CCSE) at Liverpool John Moores University.

    While victims of political violence and terrorism are frequently centred in politicians' speeches and media headlines, Will McGowan provides us with the first book-length and empirically rich study of survivors' experiences. By building relationships of longstanding trust with his interviewees, the author has brought their stories of political violence and its aftermath to light, in this sensitive and nuanced inquiry. This methodologically rigorous and theoretically informed book fills a notable gap in Political Science, Criminology and Sociology - acquainting us, for the first time, with the making of 'resilient' survivors, as well as the loss that pervades their recovery.

    Charlotte Heath-Kelly, Professor of International Security, University of Warwick

    Will McGowan’s book offers a deeply original engagement with the pervasiveness and power of ‘resilience’ in contemporary discourse on political violence. The conceptual sophistication he brings to this discussion is enviably complemented by its empirically rich engagement with the voices and views of victims of violence. The book makes for fascinating reading, and fully deserves the attention and audience it will no doubt receive. 

    Lee Jarvis, Professor of International Politics, University of East Anglia

    "McGowan’s book provides a clarion bell for understanding the hotly contested concept of resilience. Drawing on firsthand experiences of the survivors of political violence and terrorism, this book delivers thoughtful, balanced and much-needed clarity for researchers, policy-makers and activists interested in understanding what resilience is, where it is found – and how the survivors of suffering and injustice make use of it."

    Simon Green, Professor of Criminology and Victimology, University of Hull