Crime, Law and Social Change

, Volume 56, Issue 3, pp 219-242

First online:

Toward a phenomenology of terrorism: implications for research and policy

  • Travis MorrisAffiliated withDepartment of Justice Studies and Sociology, Norwich University
  • , John P. CrankAffiliated withSchool of Criminology & Criminal Justice, University of Nebraska at Omaha Email author 

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The central theme of this paper is that the phenomenology of perception can contribute to conceptualizing terrorism, in terms of both a research orientation and policy applications. This means that counter-terrorism needs to be grounded in a holistic perspective that has meaning from the point of view of those engaged in terrorism. A critique of the “war on terror” counter-terrorism practices is followed by a discussion of phenomenology and its implications for a holistic perception of counter-terrorism. Four cases are presented that show how a phenomenological approach can facilitate counter-terrorism study and policy.