Understanding violence through story and stitch: Narrative and creative methods for CTS

Berit Bliesemann de Guevara*, Raquel da Silva

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Despite repeated calls to listen to the voices of non-state politically violent actors, the stories of terrorists, militants, extremists, paramilitaries, guerrillas, and others have remained surprisingly silent/silenced within critical terrorism studies (CTS) – and so have been methods to engage (former) politically violent actors beyond the standard social-scientific interview. This chapter offers an introduction to narrative and creative methods, and reflects on their benefits and limits for CTS. Drawing from their own research experiences, the authors show how an understanding of politically violent actors as individuals, whose subjectivity is constructed narratively and who make sense of their social world through multiple and changing stories, can enrich CTS’s understanding of the agents of political violence and take the field beyond its narrow narrative focus on discourses and policy narratives. The chapter also shows how creative methods can contribute to eliciting silent/silenced and preferred stories in violent actors’ biographies, thereby nuancing our understanding of their experiences and life worlds, and how these methods engender a transformative potential for research subjects, researchers, and audiences of creative outputs to engage with a difficult topic in new ways.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContemporary Reflections on Critical Terrorism Studies
EditorsAlice Martini, Raquel da Silva
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9781003266709
ISBN (Print)9781032210957
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2023

Publication series

NameRoutledge Critical Terrorism Studies


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