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Title: Terrorism Studies as a site for moral learning : on barriers to knowledge and how to overcome them
Author: Zeschitz, Sophia Maria
ISNI:       0000 0004 7231 8990
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2017
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The thesis follows a critical theory approach and suggests, that the academic study of terrorism would benefit from incorporating into its methodology an approach, which actively seeks to guide ethical discourse and policy making. The thesis asks how Terrorism Studies, in light of its proximity to policy-making and the policy-relevance of its object of research, can utilise its expertise to encourage moral learning and shape the public discourses around terrorism. It does so to problematises the marginalisation of normative theorising in Terrorism Studies. The thesis shows, that Terrorism Studies mirrors public discourse around terrorism in so far as it focuses on the instrumentality of violence, which necessarily invokes questions of values and consequentialist morality. These questions are shown to be central to the wider political, social and cultural contestations in modern societies. Treating normative questions as merely tangential in the study of terrorism therefore, renders Terrorism Studies intellectually vulnerable, if it cannot provide its expertise from an empathetically reasoned normative basis. This is the case, because the study of terrorism cannot overcome its own participation in perpetuating and indeed reifying exclusionary social practices within the hegemonic power-relationships provided for by the state. The thesis demonstrates, that any claim to neutrality in the study of terrorism is illusive and therefore, demands that Terrorism Studies must provide its expertise based on an explicit normative framework that enables critique beyond a focus on the nation state. It suggests, that Terrorism Studies must shift its focus from the ‘problem of terrorism’ to the ‘problem of misrecognition’. In doing so, the thesis not only identifies moments of implicit normative bias, particularly in relation to preventative counterterrorism, but furthermore, allows Terrorism Studies to treat terrorism as a social phenomenon, which carries with it opportunities for moral learning. The thesis therefore, provides an intervention in the form of an explicitly normative framework for the study of terrorism. This framework places Terrorism Studies in a normatively grounded position to self-reflexively critique the social, cultural and political manifestations of hegemonic power relationships in modern societies in which it participates. This equips Terrorism Studies with the methodological tools to provide concrete ethical guidance to make sense of, relate to and navigate the incoherences of the questions raised by terrorism and take the social embeddedness of the actor, and not the nation state, as its point of reference. It thereby encourages Terrorism Studies to participate in broader emancipatory truth claims, because it can identify barriers to, and opportunities for, moral learning.
Supervisor: Githens-Mazer, Jonathan Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available