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IR5951   Fundamental Issues and Structures of Terrorism (Distance learning)

Academic year(s): 2023-2024

Key information

SCOTCAT credits : 30

ECTS credits : 15

Level : SCQF level 11

Semester: Full Year

Planned timetable: 1-hour lecture and 1-hour tutorial per fortnight + advertised office hours and online teaching materals.

This module is the first of four of an elearning Postgraduate Diploma in Terrorism Studies, and 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: Distance learners having separate video or audio lectures and attend tutorials via video conferencing. Online support.

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews: Coursework = 100%


Module coordinator: Dr D Muro Ruiz
Module teaching staff: Various

Intended learning outcomes

  • Discuss with, and explain to, others what terrorism is, what it is not and distinguish between different types of terrorism and political violence;
  • Understand the historical development of the concept and its changing meanings over time;
  • Appreciate how and why terrorism is a form of political activity which is usually outside the mainstream of politics but has the potential to significantly impact upon it;
  • Understanding the power of ideas, especially religious or ideological, in determining certain courses of political action;
  • Comprehend why democracies are especially vulnerable to terrorist campaigns;
  • Become acquainted with legal and extra-legal measures to suppress terrorism; and more.