Dealing with Terrorism and Foreign Fighters 8hours
This course provides an outline of (the study of) the phenomenon of (counter-) terrorism and the primary source of today’s counterterrorism agenda’s in Europe: European citizens and residents fighting in Syria and Iraq with groups such as Islamic State. These persons are also referred to as ‘jihadist foreign fighters’.
The course investigates this phenomenon from various theoretical perspectives, ranging from the literature on agenda setting and governing complex problems, to theories on terrorism and radicalisation. It aims to provide answers to the fundamental questions: Who are these foreign fighters, do they pose a threat or not, and who should do what in order to deal with this ‘wicked problem’?
It starts with an overview of specific features of the phenomenon of terrorism and foreign fighters, such as its history, the role of leadership, the concept of leaderless jihad, the concept of ‘swarming’, as well as the role of social media, propaganda and recruitment. It will also focus on the individual characteristics of foreign fighters.
After this overview, why and to whom these foreign fighters might be a problem is discussed. Special attention will be paid to the need, possibilities and challenges related to the often- propagated ‘comprehensive approach’ to deal with terrorism and foreign fighters. We will study the difference between so-called ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ as well as preventive and repressivemeasures, looking at multi stakeholder approaches and investigating how such a ‘wicked problem’ is dealt with in the policy domain.
- Students are able to differentiate between specific features of terrorism and the foreign fighter phenomenon and can apply different lenses (structural lens, group lens, or individual lens) to study these phenomena and the specific features, types, roles and radicalisation processes of foreign fighters.
Students are able to analyse the governance challenges and consequences of different approaches to deal with terrorism and wicked problems such as the issue of foreign fighters
Students are able to assess how policies and strategies relate to best practices in countering terrorism and foreign fighters and can critically reflect on this in terms of effectiveness by using and assessing (primary) sources
- Students are able to reflect on counterterrorism policies by using theoretical and empirical knowledge on how to manage or address terrorism and the foreign fighter phenomena at the national and/or local level, and transnational level
- Students are able to present examples of terrorism and foreign fighters and their specific features, relevant processes and governance challenges, analyse the approaches to manage or govern the terrorism and foreign fighter phenomena and translate their analysis into policy recommendations.
Lecture 1 : Definitions, state of the art of terrorism studies and today’s phenomenon of jihadist foreign fighters
How to define the phenomenon of terrorism and what is the essence of this phenomenon? Moreover, how to study terrorism and counterterrorism? This lecture presents the key concepts of the course and the main opportunities, challenges as well as dilemmas it raises for research and policymaking in the current period.
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