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Forum on Public Policy Online

Vol 2011 no3 (Posted November 2011)


Global Insecurity || Higher Education || Religion, Ethics and Values|| Women's Issues

Global Insecurity


Toward a Contemporary Definition of Terrorism
Lanier Burns, Research Professor, Dallas Seminary    

Terrorism studies point to the need for a standardized definition. This paper will suggest a “working definition” by focusing on semantics rather than an all-inclusive political statement. Its goal of isolating core concepts will be pursued with a view to historical precedents and academic research. A number of definitions begin the paper to indicate a field of meaning with introductory issues. An historical survey leads to 9/11 and its pivotal influence on our thinking about contemporary terrorism. A brief discussion of academia underscores the need for interdisciplinary collaboration for a shared understanding of the dangers that we face. Finally, a core definition will be suggested for further consideration.  



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