Securitization and Terroristization: Analyzing States’ Usage of the Rhetoric of Terrorism

  • Priya DixitEmail author
Part of the Staat – Souveränität – Nation book series (SSN)


“Terrorism” remains “essentially contested” in its meaning and yet it is often and uncritically used by various actors. Here, I draw from and modify the Copenhagen School’s securitization theory to outline a “terroristization” approach. This terroristization approach is useful in studying and analyzing when rhetoric of terrorism is used and its sociopolitical consequences. A terroristization approach can be used to study how acts, actions, events become understood as “terrorism” as it focuses attention on how the term “terrorism” is used during specific interactions, what terrorism means, and to the sociopolitical and ethical implications of labeling practices. In doing so, it also draws attention to spaces and modes by which the usage of “terrorism” can be questioned and challenged. Additionally, a focus on the meaning-making of terrorism directs attention to how various violent acts are legitimated in different contexts and the self-other identities produced in the process of labelling actors, events, acts as “terrorist” (or not). This chapter also outlines a brief example of the consequences of terroristization, focusing specifically on post-9/11 debates and discussions on surveillance and monitoring by the US state.


Kansas City Central Intelligence Agency Muslim Population Structural Violence Linguistic Practice 
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Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceVirginia Polytechnic Institute & State UniversityBlacksburgUSA

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