Subtitle The Social Construction of State Terrorism
Publisher Manchester University Press
EAN/ISBN 9780719091766
Release Date 2015-09-01

Priya Dixit

Summary This book is about states’ use of “terrorism” to label others, especially specific groups within their own political territories and how such usage is legitimated. The two contexts examined are British labellings of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in the 1970s–1990s and Nepal’s use of “terrorism” to describe Maoists in the post “9/11” era. The first part of the book situates it within scholarship on states and “terrorists,” two terms that are not often studied together in Terrorism Studies. Then, a rhetorical analytical approach to studying official representations of IRA and Maoists as “terrorist” is provided. This is followed by empirical analysis of Nepal and Northern Ireland, and then a chapter that draws attention to the politics of representing others as “terrorist” in the United States in the context of the “war on terror.” The focus is on how language was used to label others as “terrorist” and how this changed. This is a useful book because it outlines how rhetorical practices and ways of describing others exhibit similarities across geographical regions and before and after “9/11.” As such, discussions of there being a “new terrorism” need to take into account that states have been using similar representational strategies to label and marginalise others as “terrorist” since before “9/11.” Overall, this book directs attention to how “states” and “terrorists” in Britain and Nepal formed in relation to each other and how “terrorism” was used as a delegitimating strategy, leading to the formation of “suspect communities” and increased “terroristisation” of society. In this way, it suggests that the variability of “terrorism” allows states to establish and legitimate specific practices against its others but also could be a source for resistance, as noted in the case of Nepal in 2006. This book will be valuable for scholars and students of critical terrorism studies, those who study the state and its identity formation, and scholars of Nepal and small states in the international system. It will also be of use to those interested in rhetorical analysis and media and cultural studies.