chapter  4
13 Pages

Conceptualization of terrorism: Jack P. Gibbs


Defi nitions of terrorism are controversial for reasons other than conceptual issues and problems. Because labeling actions as “terrorism” promotes condemnation of the actors, a defi nition may refl ect ideological or political bias (for lengthy elaboration, see Rubenstein 1987). Given such considerations, all of which discourage attempts to defi ne terrorism, it is not surprising that Laqueur (1977, p. 5) argued that

a comprehensive defi nition of terrorism … does not exist nor will it be found in the foreseeable future. To argue that terrorism cannot be studied without such a defi nition is manifestly absurd.