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Spencer, Alexander (2006): Questioning the Concept of ‘New Terrorism’. In: Peace, Conflict and Development, Vol. 8: pp. 1-33 [PDF, 346kB]

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Many scholars, government analysts and politicians point out that since the mid 1990s ‘terrorism’ has changed into an inherently new form with new characteristics. They have articulated the concept of ‘new terrorism”, which involves different actors, motivations, aims, tactics and actions, compared to the ‘old’ concept of terrorism used in the mid twentieth century. However, do the established characteristics of terrorism today justify the concept of ‘new terrorism’? The aim of this paper is not to challenge the established characteristics of terrorism today, but to question the validity of the term ‘new terrorism’ by showing that many of the trends underlying it can be identified in terrorism years ago. Nevertheless, ‘new terrorism’ is being used to justify ‘new’ counter-terrorism measures. The paper sets the foundations for a more in-depth look at the necessity and effectiveness of counter-terrorism measures after 9/11.

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