Stampnitzky, Lisa. Disciplining terror: how experts invented "terrorism"

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Author: J. Fields
Date: Apr. 2014
Publisher: American Library Association CHOICE
Document Type: Book review; Brief article
Length: 229 words
Lexile Measure: 1110L

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Stampnitzky, Lisa. Disciplining terror: how experts invented "terrorism". Cambridge, 2013. 232p bibl index ISBN 9781107026636, $95.00



2012-44908 CIP

In this excellent and highly readable book, Stampnitzky (social studies, Harvard Univ.) traces the origin of terrorism studies as a discipline (though she is clear about the enduring definitional problems, the subtitle "How Experts Invented 'Terrorism'" is a bit misleading). The study of terrorism as a policy issue and scholarly subdiscipline is relatively new, having originated in the 1960s. But, as Stampnitzky points out, its evolution has been problematic. Over tirne politics and moral lenses have infected the subfield from outside. Terrorists came to be viewed simply as evil and irrational, and considerations of motivations became suspect and deemed irrelevant to the study of terrorism from the perspective of politically influential outsiders especially in the US Congress in the 1970s-80s. This "politics of anti-knowledge," as Stampnitzky characterizes it, however, is not new. The book does an admirable job of tracing the origins of terrorism studies from the 1960s--when it was a more conventional if nascent endeavor focused mainly on insurgencies and terrorism as a tactic--to the current post-9/11 state of affairs. This excellent work employs an array of primary and secondary sources and is a corrective that should be read by US foreign policy elites especially. Summing Up: Highly recommended. *** MI readership levels.--J. Fields, University of Southern California

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Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|A363515836