Does Terrorism Work?
From ISIS to Canada, terrorism continues to dominate headlines and international politics. But far more has been written about the definiton and causes of terrorism than about its actual effectiveness as a method of bringing about political change. Debates about whether terrorism works have begun to emerge prominently only in recent years, and there is no agreement in the field about the issue. In this Lecture, Richard English draws on his own first-hand research for his forthcoming book on the topic, reflectng on why the question is so important, why it has so far proved difficult to answer it satisfactorily in the scholarly field, how we might better frame our approach to the subject in the future, and what a persuasive answer to this vital question might actually look like in practice.
Richard English is Wardlaw Professor of Politics in the School of International Relations, and Director of the Handa Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (CSTPV), at the University of St Andrews. He was born in 1963 in Belfast, where he worked at Queen's University between 1989 and 2011. He is the author of seven books, including the award-winning studies Armed Struggle: The History of the IRA (2003) and Irish Freedom: The History of Nationalism in Ireland (2006). His most recent book, Modern War: A Very Short Introduction,was published in 2013 by Oxford University Press. He is also the co-editor of a further five books and has published more than forty journal articles and book chapters. He is a frequent media commentator on terrorism and political violence, and on Irish politics and history, including work for the BBC, ITN, SKY NEWS, NPR, RTE, the Irish Times, the Times Literary Supplement, Newsweek, and the Financial Times. His research has received funding from, among others, the British Academy, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Leverhulme Trust, and the Nuffield Foundation. He is a Fellow of the British Academy (FBA), a Member of the Royal Irish Academy (MRIA), a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (FRHistS), and an Honorary Fellow of Keble College, Oxford.