State terror, terrorism research and knowledge politics

Richard Dean Wells Jackson

Research output: Working paper

54 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Employing a discourse analytic approach, this paper examines the silence on state terrorism within the broader terrorism studies literature. An analysis of this literature reveals that state terrorism is noticeable mainly for its absence as a subject of systematic academic study. Following the textual analysis, the main finding – the silence on state terrorism within terrorism studies – is subjected to both a first and second order critique. A first order or immanent critique uses a discourse‟s internal contradictions, mistakes and misconceptions to criticise it on its own terms. In this case, the absence of state terrorism is criticized for its illogical actor-based definition of terrorism, its politically biased research focus, and its failure to acknowledge the empirical evidence of the extent and nature of state terrorism. A second order critique entails reflecting on the broader political and ethical consequences of the representations enabled by the discourse. It is argued that the absence of state terrorism from academic discourse functions to promote particular kinds of state hegemonic projects, construct a legitimizing public discourse for foreign and domestic policy, and deflect attention from the terroristic practices of states. The exposure and destabilisation of this dominant narrative also opens up critical space for the articulation of alternative and potentially emancipatory forms of knowledge and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'State terror, terrorism research and knowledge politics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this