babies and bathwaters: reflecting on the pitfalls of critical terrorism studies
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- Gunning, J. Eur Polit Sci (2007) 6: 236. doi:10.1057/palgrave.eps.2210144
This paper examines some of the key challenges critical terrorism studies will have to face. Starting from the premise that a critical turn must both challenge traditional approaches to ‘terrorism’ and provide an umbrella under which traditional and critical perspectives from ‘terrorism studies’ and cognate fields can converge, the article reflects on the tensions this will introduce, ranging from how to define the boundaries of a critical field and whether to adopt the term ‘terrorism’ as a field delineator, to the need for policy-relevance and the tensions this introduces between striving to influence policy and avoiding co-optation. The paper ends with a reflection on the challenge of being sensitive to cultural and contextual differences while remaining true to one's emancipatory agenda.