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Your understanding of terrorism at this point has much to do with your background and personal experiences. The term terrorism is


CJ 530 Module One Discussion: Definition of Terrorism Schmid and Jongman developed a questionnaire and surveyed all of the top scholars, researchers, and analysts working in the field of terrorism at the time. They asked all participants in the survey to write down their own definition of terrorism. Schmid and Jongman then collected the completed surveys, compiled a list of 109 different definitions, and began to study each definition, searching for key elements that the definitions had in common. From this study, Schmid and Jongman compiled a list of 22 key definitional elements. In 2011, Schmid revisited his original research with the purpose of further narrowing down and defining these definitional elements to develop a consensus definition. Once again, Schmid sent out a questionnaire and analyzed the survey results, and this ultimately led to him cutting the original 22 elements down to 12 core components from which he could develop the following academic consensus definition of terrorism:

Terrorism refers, on the one hand, to a doctrine about the presumed effectiveness of a special form or tactic of fear-generating, coercive political violence and, on the other hand, to a conspiratorial practice of calculated, demonstrative, direct violent action without legal or moral restraints, targeting mainly civilians and non-combatants, performed for its propagandistic and psychological effects on various audiences and conflict parties . . . (Schmid, 2011, pp. 86—87)

For the discussion in this module, you will look further at the 12 core components developed and used by Schmid in this consensus definition. Before completing your initial post, examine the 12 elements in the chart below. In your initial post, consider which components are most important and why. Also discuss which components you feel are least important and why.


Schmid, A. P. (Ed.). (2011). The Routledge Handbook of Terrorism Research. London, UK: Routledge.

12 Core Components of Terrorism

It should say something about a doctrine and/or practice of violent action

It should refer to the context in which terrorism is employed as a tactic

It should contain the concept of physical violence or threat thereof

It should say something about threat-based communication processes

It should mention that terrorism instills fear, dread, panic or mere anxiety

It should say something about the direct victims

It should point at the fact that direct victims are not the ultimate target

It should say something about the perpetrators

It should mention that terrorism is predominantly political

It should refer to the intent of acts of terrorism

It should contain the motivations to engage in terrorism

It should mention that terrorist acts form part of a campaign of violence


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