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IR5901   Fundamental Issues and Structures of Terrorism

Academic year(s): 2023-2024

Key information

SCOTCAT credits : 30

ECTS credits : 15

Level : SCQF level 11

Semester: 1

Planned timetable: Monday 11am -12noon (lect), Tuesday 2-3pm, 3-4pm (tut)

This module is designed to present core conceptual issues. These issues will include: Terrorism as a field of study - emergence and evolution; Definitional, conceptual, typological and theoretical issues; History of Terrorism; Ideology, Religion and Terrorism; Terrorist Organisations and Campaigns - stand-alone terrorism and terrorism combined with guerrilla warfare and political party work; Terrorism and Democracy - legal and human rights issues; Terrorism and Repression - counter-insurgency and counter-terror; Terrorism and Domestic and International Conflict - asymmetric warfare and humanitarian issues; Terrorism and Crime - linkage and law enforcement issues; Terrorism and Communication - propaganda and psychological warfare. We will cover three structures in relation to these concepts. Inside terrorist organisations and their support groups: Profiles of the most active terrorist groups - case studies. The structure of the international system and international counter-terrorist measures. Victims of terrorism and their national and transnational support organisations.

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact: 1-hour lecture, 1-hour tutorial per week + advertised office hours, plus online teaching materials.

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews: Coursework = 100%


Module coordinator: Dr F P Lehr
Module teaching staff: Various

Intended learning outcomes

  • Offer a definition of terrorism and defend it
  • Know the difference between terrorism and other forms of political violence
  • Be able to discuss why terrorism is such a contested concept
  • Argue either in favour or against continuing efforts to find a shared definition of what constitutes terrorism and what not