Terrorism, counter-terrorism, and critique: Opportunities, examples, and implications

Lee Jarvis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)


This article explores the parameters, value and limitations of different critical strategies for those dissatisfied with the contemporary politics of terror. It argues, first, that the prominent counter-terrorism paradigm – in which terrorism is approached as a ubiquitous and very specific security challenge meriting appropriately exceptional responses – is far more critiqued than we might anticipate. And, second, that such critiques – which can be found across political language, popular culture, everyday life, and beyond – employ distinct critical resources to serve varying ends. Reflecting on these, the article offers a new heuristic distinguishing five critical strategies which seek to: (i) repudiate; (ii) question; (iii) subvert; (iv) replace, or (v) deconstruct the prominent counter-terrorism paradigm. This typology, it argues, offers scope for optimism and strategic resources for those attracted to a critical terrorism studies project going forward.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-358
Number of pages20
JournalCritical Studies on Terrorism
Issue number2
Early online date20 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • critical terrorism studies
  • critique
  • criticism
  • counter-terrorism
  • terrorism

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