Nowadays, the terrorism in its scope, consequences, intensity, and destructive force turned into one of the worst problems of the humankind. Being extremely dangerous socio-political and criminal phenomenon it became the global security threat. The fight against terrorism is a serious problem that requires a deep and comprehensive study. In order to build an effective mechanism to counter terrorist threats, one should first understand the phenomena itself and its impact. In this respect, sociologists conducted researches on the nature, essence, genesis, and manifestations of terrorism, as well as its ideological roots and driving forces. Based on the existing studies, it is necessary to examine the origins, causes, and consequences of terrorism, along with its interrelations with other types of extremism, its ideology, and sociological background. Therefore, this paper presents an analytical study of relevant sociological literature in order to point out the development and the causes of terrorism as well as types and methods of its prevention in the modern world.
Mythen and Walklate (2008) conducted a research introducing the risk society theory in terms of terrorism. They state that the society developed the number of risk factors of increasing terrorist threat. In addition, the authors discuss the theory of fear and scrutinize the ‘war on terror’ content and practices in order to identify their usefulness and practicability. Authors apply risk theory, theory of fear, and governmental tools to analyze the issue of terrorism from sociological perspective. It is a research article on how sociological theories can be applied to assess the terrorism threat. The applied theories are limited since they do not identify the essence and causes of terrorism. Therefore, the authors offered the issue of risk and fear theory for further theoretical research on causes of terrorism.
Moreover, in another article, Mythen and Walklate (2006) claim that the risk society theory is the best representation of the terrorism notion. The authors investigate the notion of ‘new terrorism’ derived from risk society theory. New terrorism, according to their viewpoint, appears when the terrorists use available advanced technologies. Mythen and Walklate employ the sociological theory in terms of criminology, which allows discussing the matter from the other perspective. However, the authors represent the limitations of their theory in regard to criminology: it only partly explains and addresses the issue of terrorism.
Deflem (2004), in his turn, also applies an existing theory to examine the terrorism threat. He uses theory of police bureaucratization and social control theory to investigate the counterterrorism and the necessity for it. The author claims that the bureaucratization is one of the main causes of antiterrorism actions. Deflem specifically researches the police institutions reaction to the terrorism and their limitations to suggest adequate counteractions. Deflem presents the limitation of these theories applications, i.e. they do not take into account that police is related to politics. Moreover, the author develops the model of policing the terrorism control in order to improve the current state of policing. Deflem suggests investigating the efficiency of the police work in further research.
One of the most known and interesting studies on sociology of terrorism is the study of Turk (2004). In his article, Turk argues that the notion of terrorism is underestimated. His work is a research on current knowledge about terrorism. Turk introduces seven aspects of the terrorism investigation and studies the current information on every aspect. The main point of the author is that the application sphere limits every theory used in terrorism assessment, and there is no possibility to investigate the terrorism using only one theory, which would be appropriate for all aspects of the issue. Turks’ study is applicable to many spheres and therefore, his work is one of the primary resources for the research on sociological aspect of terrorism.
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Tosini (2007), in his turn, uses different approach to investigate the terrorism threat. His article is an overview of terrorism notion in sociological terms. It means that he stays the definition of terrorism, defines its types, finds its causes, and introduces counterterrorism policies. It is a general investigation of the matter not limited by usage of theories and tools. The main thought expressed by the author is that in the nowadays, terrorism is developing together with society and finds new ways of affecting it. Therefore, the limitations to the author’s study are the new perspective of modern terrorism, which should be closely investigated in order to prevent the growth of the threat.
Kinloch (2005) uses the approach to investigation of terrorism similar to that of Tosini. In his study, he identifies the notion of terrorism, its causes, explanations, consequences, and counter actions. However, the main tool used by the author to study the matter involves case studies. The characteristic feature of this research article is practical evaluation of the problem and practical application of existing theories of terrorism. The theories he employs deal with individual, social, and political aspects of terrorism. Therefore, the importance of the study is obvious: Kinloch scrutinizes the issue from different viewpoints and does not have limitations of his theories since their use allows reflecting all the positions. The usage of case studies pointed at the problematic areas in the social studies of terrorism. In addition, the author states that found problematic factors are not investigated by any of the sociologist, and these are the possible topics for further research.
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On the contrary to the authors mentioned above, Webb uses sociological study as the tool for understanding the causes of terrorism. He uses social tool to investigate the matter. The author claims that terrorism and other global threats are rooted in social structures. Moreover, the author concentrates not only on the terrorist notion statement but also sociological response the humanity has to the threat. Webb closely investigates the world’s society response to 9/11 events and suggests possible measures to be taken in similar situation. Therefore, the aim of the study is not the investigation of terrorism but the finding out the ways to calm down the society after a terrorist attack.