It down-plays political justification and lists acts of violence as terrorism if they are “resulting or likely to result in major economic loss, when the purpose of the conduct, by its nature or context, is to intimidate a population, or to compel a Government or an international organisation to do or abstain from doing any act.” In 2007 they were shifting to a consensus academic definition.
Introduction Social structure and order, governance of society and politics are dependent on good communication, and good communication requires agreement on definitions of terminology.
Terrorism can dramatically influence the world, as shown by the far-reaching and prolonged effects of the attacks in New York on 11 September 2001.
Most academic definitions emphasise the combination of violence, politics, sociology and psychology.
The threat of violence is included as well as actual violence.
Hoffman, White, Richardson, Bjorgo) which examined 109 definitions and found 22 frequently used “definitional elements” (Table 1).
Agreement on definitions of terrorism will assist the research and study which may progress to counter measures for the benefit of democratic governments and society.Thirdly, the violence conveys messages and threats in order to communicate and gain social control.A very useful guide to academic thought is the study by Schmid and Jongman (7) ) referred to by many authors (e.g.Some nations, particularly in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, were unwilling to label groups as terrorists if they sympathised with their aims, because of the perjorative aspects of the label.The West has also sympathised with groups which have committed terrorist activities.Walter Laqueur (5) ) uses the simple, broad definition “terrorism is the illegitimate use of force to achieve a political objective by targeting innocent people”.Tore Bjorgo (6) ) states “terrorism is a set of methods of combat rather than an identifiable ideology or movement, and involves premeditated use of violence against (primarily) non-combatants in order to achieve a psychological effect of fear on others than the immediate targets.” Fernando Reinares (cited on p.120 in reference 6) distinguishes three traits that define terrorism for the purpose of academic study.Often the information presented was second or third hand and had been altered to suit the bias of the author. Separating truth from disinformation is a hazard when researching terrorism.Organisations, governments, national states and other bodies that have social and political influence were searched through the internet and classical texts on the topic of terrorism in order to examine their definitions of terrorism and how these definitions affect their social and political influence.Academic Research Researchers and academic students of terrorism desire the intellectual discipline of a definition to enable focussing on a specified topic.This would facilitate communication between researchers, their organisations and their contribution to society’s counter-terrorism measures if they are using common language and definitions.