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Telephone and Terrorism

In Lisa Stampnitzky’s Disciplining Terror, she proposes terrorism is a social construction developed by new events, new experts, and new practices of knowledge, which over time has experienced changes in the overall meaning of terrorism. Terrorism appeared as a new problem in the public sphere during the 1970’s, causing new discourse to take place. At this point, the campaign against international terrorism was “[initially concerned] not [with] the conflicts themselves; rather we were concerned with preventing the conflicts from spilling over the international domain,”(Stampnitzky, 27). During this time, we notice a shift in the definition of terrorism where it not only was defined as state violence, but included insurgent violence due to the experts shift in focus. Contrasting from the study of insurgent violence, discussion about terrorism intertwined morality, rationality and politics. Later on in the 1990’s, terrorism evolved into a new era of terrorism. By studying, “Islamic terrorism”, “right-wing terrorism”, “small wars”, and “weapons of mass destruction”, we notice “terrorist [are] less understandable, more unpredictable, and more dangerous than ever before,” highlighting the change in the new period of terrorism.

Starting in the 1970’s, we watched terrorism come in to the public eye and our understanding of terrorism has changed constantly ever since, reminding me of the game “telephone”. In the game, a random sentence is passed around a group in which the sentence can only be whispered in the ear of the next person one time. Usually the sentence ends up being distorted. In the same way, terrorism started out than evolved into the idea of “new terrorism” during the 1990’s. In both instances, the perceptions of both changed throughout time



Blair • October 27, 2016

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