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Terrorism in Western Europe

Explaining the Trends since 1950 Jan Oskar Engene, Associate Professor, Department of Comparative Politics, University of Bergen, Norway
This important book examines why terrorism prevails in the otherwise stable and advanced democracies of Western Europe and why some countries have been more severely hit than others.
Extent: 208 pp
Hardback Price: $127.00 Web: $114.30
Publication Date: 2004
ISBN: 978 1 84376 582 0
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  • Politics and Public Policy
  • European Politics and Policy
  • Terrorism and Security
This important book examines why terrorism prevails in the otherwise stable and advanced democracies of Western Europe and why some countries have been more severely hit than others.

Whilst Western Europe today seems relatively peaceful, some countries in this region have, in fact, experienced significantly high levels of terrorism for decades. Moreover, the threat has not only come from international terrorists operating in Europe but as a result of internal conflicts which have produced terrorist campaigns conducted by groups originating in the countries themselves.

The author maps the trends in internal terrorism in 18 Western European countries since 1950 and explains those trends, both from a theoretical and empirical perspective. He uses a unique data set called TWEED, which covers around 9000 terrorist attacks and records the activities of about 200 terrorist groups over the post-war period.

Offering a historical and comparative approach to terrorism, unlike the more usual focus on contemporary threats and developments, this book will appeal to political and social scientists and students, especially those working in comparative politics or on the causes of conflict. Academics interested in European studies and more specifically the conditions and developments of European democracy, and policymakers concerned with the development of the terrorist threat in Europe will also find the book of great interest.
‘. . . an important advancement in both the theory and analysis of domestic terrorism. His conceptualization of terrorism as a communicative action undertaken by political actors is lucid and largely convincing. Above all, his TWEED dataset fills a crucial void that has hamstrung empirical scholars of terrorist violence for some time, and represents an indispensable resource for future scholars.’
– Dennis M. Foster, The Journal of Conflict Studies

‘Jan Oskar Engene’s book on terrorism in Western Europe is an analytical tour de force that supplies the badly needed macro-political dimension to comparing Western European systems with regard to the impact of terrorism in the years from 1950 to 1995. Based mainly on events data and casualty statistics, it is impeccably reasoned and carried out with panache.’
– Peter H. Merkl, Professor Emeritus, Political Science, University of California, Santa Barbara, US

‘Since “9–11” terrorism has become a hot topic. In Western Europe it has been simmering and bubbling up for a long time and invites therefore, indeed necessitates, wide-ranging comparative study based on solid empirical evidence collected over time. In this book Jan Oskar Engene has done exactly that. He generates valuable event data and investigates patterns of terrorism throughout Western Europe between 1950 and 1995. Through empirical analysis he also offers an explanation for why some Western European countries are more subject to terrorism than others. His view that terrorist acts are directed not simply against the state but also as a means of communication to the terrorists’ audience of supporters and sympathisers is insightful.’
– Rosemary H.T. O’Kane, University of Keele, UK
Contents: Introduction 1. Defining Terrorism: A Communications Perspective 2. Explaining Terrorism: Focusing on Legitimacy 3. The Event Data Approach 4. A Regional Empirical Overview 5. Patterns of Terrorism in West European Countries 6. Terrorism and the West European Political Systems Conclusion Appendix References Index