Free Custom «Is There a ?New Terrorism?» Essay Paper

Free Custom «Is There a ?New Terrorism?» Essay Paper
The term ?terrorism? remains one of the most difficult definitions in sociological studies. Apart from the complicatedness of terrorist ideals and motives, terrorism often borders on one?s striving toward individual and political freedom, which makes immorality of terrorism questionable. However, after the events of 9/11, researchers and scholars in sociology have been extensively using the term ?new terrorism?, which was designed to denote the growing scope of terrorist attacks, as well as the sophisticated nature of terrorist intentions. At the age of technological advancement and globalization, we can openly speak about new terrorism as the new form of violent self-expression widely exercised for the achievement of the major political goals. Definitions of terrorism are numerous, but generally, terrorism can be defined as the use of threats, violence, physical force, and technological solutions in a way that causes fear, coercion, and victims for the sake of political purposes.
Although terrorism is not new, at various times it was described differently: ?terrorism has been described variously as both a tactic and strategy; a crime and a holy duty; a justified reaction to oppression and an inexcusable abomination? (Terrorism Research). Very often, researchers refer to the ways in which legal documents define terrorism; for example, the U.S. Department of Defense uses the following definition: ?the calculated use of unlawful violence or threat to inculcate fear? (Carr 12), but no one will argue that the notion of terrorism is always associated with violence. In the context of the most recent events (namely, the World Trade Center bombings), the concept of ?new terrorism? is gaining popularity, and it would be fair to say that under the pressure of globalization and technological advancement terrorism has already lost its previous form.
Terrorism is growing in scale; more and more casualties become the results of more sophisticated terrorist attacks ? and these are just some out of many signs which researchers usually attribute to new terrorism (Cronin 39). The new terrorism is inevitably associated with a kind of apocalyptic perceptions: Al-Qaeda constantly speaks about the end of the world. The development of mass media is partially responsible for the emergence of this new form of terrorist intentions: ?saturation of the media with images of terrorist atrocity has raised the bar on the level of destruction that will attract the headline attention? (Quillen 284). The new terrorism always targets civilian population because the latter appears more vulnerable to terrorism risks and is less likely to actively oppose and thus threaten the terrorists themselves (Cronin 44). Finally, where traditional terrorism was always aimed at achieving specific political purposes, the new terrorism has undergone a strategic shift in that it closely resembles a crowd of hard-line fanatics: in case of the recent terrorist acts, professionals find it more and more difficult to determine specific purposes of such violent acts. Nevertheless, it is difficult to agree that the new terrorism is something really NEW. In reality, the new forms of terrorism are much similar to old forms in that terrorism still remains an instrument of political control. Terrorism still implies reasonable choice and extremely cautions approach to the choice of victims (Lifton 82). As with the old one, new terrorism is still characterized by the strict hierarchy and the system of command: for example, terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda and the Italian separatist group ETA are well known for the centralization of power and decision-making (Claridge 137; Wilkinson 28).
Thus, whether or not the current terrorism can be considered ?new terrorism? remains a question, but it is obvious that in the current state of political and social disagreement, terrorism will grow in scale, causing thousands and thousands of innocent deaths worldwide.


Despite numerous definitions, the concept of terrorism is not so easy to define. Moreover, with the growing sophistication of technological solutions, as well as with the growing political tensions, terrorism is gradually growing in scope, targeting broader civilian populations. On the one hand, the terrorist attacks 9/11 have become the turning points in the emergence of new terrorism. On the other hand, in its current form terrorism bears numerous similarities with more traditional older terrorism. Whether present day terrorism can be considered new remains a question, but it obvious that terrorism will becoming more and more complicated.



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