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Disciplining Terror: How Experts Invented 'Terrorism' Hardcover – June 10, 2013

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Editorial Reviews


"I do not know anyone who would have predicted some forty years ago that "terrorism studies" would emerge as a field, much less that a talented sociologist would devote her attention to producing a fascinating critique of its erratic and contentious development. Lisa Stampnitzky's book is important not just as a disciplined examination of an undisciplined field but as a cautionary tale about the vexed relationship between experts and policy makers." Martha Crenshaw Senior Fellow, Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), Stanford University

"Lisa Stampnitzky tells a truly fascinating and revelatory story about how 'terrorism' came to occupy a prominent place in contemporary politics and culture. Theoretically sophisticated, meticulously researched and eloquently written, 'Disciplining Terror' represents a quantum leap forward in our understanding of the rise and evolution of the so-called 'terrorism experts'." Richard Jackson Editor of Critical Studies on Terrorism

"In a riveting account, Disciplining Terror asks how a new breed of expert formulated the nightmare concept of "terrorism." Investigating how hijackings and hostage-taking, bombings and guerrilla warfare came to constitute a new, socially defined category, Lisa Stampnitzky traces how we ended up not in a war against particular enemies but in a war against a concept, a War on Terror. This brilliant, deeply researched analysis demystifies a fundamental obsession of our political culture." Ann Swidler University of California, Berkeley

Book Description

Since 9/11, we have been told that terrorists are pathological evildoers. Yet before the 1970s, hijackings, assassinations, and other acts now called 'terrorism' were considered the work of rational actors. Disciplining Terror explains how political violence became 'terrorism', and how this transformation ultimately led to the current 'war on terror'.

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