Interpretation, judgement, and dialogue: a hermeneutical recollection of causal analysis in critical terrorism studies

Van Milders, L. (2017) Interpretation, judgement, and dialogue: a hermeneutical recollection of causal analysis in critical terrorism studies. Critical Studies on Terrorism, 10 (2). pp. 220-239. ISSN 1753-9153.

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This article problematises Critical Terrorism Studies’s (CTS) seeming reluctance to engage in causal explanation. An analysis of the meta-theoretical assumptions on causation in both orthodox as well as critical terrorism studies reveals that the latter’s refusal to incorporate causal analysis in its broader research agenda reproduces - despite its commitment to epistemological pluralism - the former’s understanding of causation as the only sustainable one. Elemental to this understanding is the idea that causation refers to the regular observation of constant conjunction. Due to the positivist leanings of such a conception, CTS is quick to dismiss it as consolidating Orthodox Terrorism Studies’s lack of critical self-reflexivity, responsibility of the researcher, and dedication towards informing state-led policies of counter-terrorism. Drawing on recent work in philosophy of science and International Relations, the article advances an alternative understanding of causation that emphasises its interpretative, normative, and dialogical fabric. It is therefore argued that CTS should reclaim causal analysis as an essential element of its research agenda. This not only facilitates a more robust challenge against orthodox terrorism studies’ conventional understanding of causation but also consolidates CTS’s endeavour of deepening and broadening our understanding that (re)embeds terrorist violence in its historical and social context.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Terrorism; causation; orthodox versus critical terrorism studies
Subjects: H Social Sciences
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology > HV6001 Criminology > HV6251 Crimes and offences > HV6431 Terrorism
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Psychology, Politics and Sociology
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Lucas Van Milders
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2018 10:34
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2018 08:01

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00