ABSTRACT

How should we understand or make sense of terror? It has long been a commitment of critical terrorism studies to challenge the reductive association of “terrorism” with nonstate actors: a challenge with considerable potential for unsettling established assumptions within terrorism research and International Relations (IR) more broadly (Jarvis and Lister 2014). Research in this area has, as a consequence, produced significant literatures pushing for the broader recognition of state terrorism (Blakeley 2007; Jackson, Murphy, and Poynting 2010) and the reconceptualisation of terrorism as a discursive tool rather than objective category (Croft 2006; Jackson 2005; Mythen and Walklate 2006). While these efforts to (re-)think and even (re-)appropriate the “terrorism” signifier have produced important critiques of the mainstream terror discourse, the critical literature itself occasionally falls into standardised tropes. One such trope is the unidirectional exploration of the relationship between neoliberalism and terror, a research area to which this special issue attempts to offer redirection.