chapter  7
21 Pages

Fundamentalist foundations of terrorist practice: The political logic of life-sacrifice


While almost anything asserted about the nature of terrorism can be contested, what seems indisputable is that it is a tactic, a means to political ends. As a tactic its meaning is essentially bound up with the political ends that it serves. As a problem, it can be solved only if its political causes are understood and addressed. The political causes of terrorism are in turn both specific and general. The specific causes of terrorism are to be found in the particular histories of struggle in which movements that employ terrorist tactics arise. Comprehension at that level of specificity requires concrete analysis of concrete histories of struggle. It is the general political causes of terrorism that will concern me here. I claim that whatever the specific history of struggle, it will always be the case that terrorist practice follows from a politically fundamentalist theory.