Perspectives on Terrorism is an initiative of the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism. Visit website
VOL. IX, Issue 6

Terrorist Practices: Sketching a New Research Agenda

Contemporary approaches to the study of terrorism ignore the social practices that operate as ‘background noise’ in daily life. Research focusing on goal-seeking and the ‘aims’ of terrorist organizations leaves little room to analyze the performative, emotional, and ritual aspects of terrorism – key aspects of identity and disposition formation. Just as in other social cleavages, terrorist ritual and community practices forge actor preferences and passions. This note outlines puzzles which extant research agendas leave unanswered, proposes a ‘turn’ to cultural practice as an important new research area, and offers an example of how to conduct mixed method research on terrorist practices, looking specifically at how religious practice disaggregation predicts terror campaign duration. The research note concludes with academic and policy implications.

About ICCT

The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT) is a think-and-do tank based in The Hague, Netherlands. We provide research, policy advice, training and other solutions to support better counter-terrorism policies and practices worldwide. We also contribute to the scientific and publi.…