Social Justice Monday: Who is a Terrorist?: The Legal, Legislative, and Social Impacts of a Powerful Label
Social Justice Monday–March 28, 2016
Submitted by Jeanna McLellan, Electronic Services Assistant
Terrorism is a frightening concept, and it can seemingly strike closer-to-home each passing day. Terrorists seem like a monolithic and dangerous “other.” However, the reality is tremendously complex. The root causes of terrorism are elusive. Identifying them is difficult and contentious. Despite this, the terms “terrorist” and “terrorism” are used with great frequency to powerful legal and social effect. This begs the question: can we define terrorism? How does current law actually define terrorism? Is the definition appropriate? What are the broader impacts of this definition on the public, the media, and the legislative process? The answers to these questions are difficult and fraught with social and political consequence, especially for Muslims and Arab-Americans.
This Social Justice Monday Professor John McKay, Sharia Law Scholar Salah Dandan, and former FBI Special Agent Charlie Mandigo engaged in a discussion about the legal, legislative and social impacts of the “terrorist” label. The panel was moderated by 1L Scholar for Justice Ben Halpern-Meekin.
Interested in learning more? Here are some related ebooks available from the Law Library:
Researching terrorism, peace and conflict studies : interaction, synthesis and opposition
From the Publisher:
“This book examines potential synergies between the fields of Terrorism Studies and Peace and Conflict Studies.
The volume presents theoretically- and empirically-informed contributions, which shed light on whether the two fields can inform each other on issues of mutual interest and importance. The book examines key themes including the conceptualisation(s) of peace and violence; the exceptionalisation of terrorist violence; the relationship between scholarship and political power; the dysfunctionality of the liberal peace and the opportunities offered by post-liberal peacebuilding frameworks; and the implications and challenges of cyber-terrorism and cyber-conflict. Furthermore, the book intends to be a launching pad for future debate on whether the recent ‘critical’ turn in terrorism studies can offer a pathway for peace studies to engage with the so far largely ignored question of power.
Consisting of not only key scholars but also practitioners and policy makers, the contributors present a number of case studies, including Colombia, Northern Ireland, the Basque Country, and Iraq, where they explore the relationships between terrorism and peace and conflict approaches. They critically analyse the statist approach inherent in both terrorism approaches and liberal peacebuilding frameworks; the role of the grassroots levels of society; the inefficiency of simplistic frameworks of understanding and implementation; and the chains of governance from international (and transnational) actors to national actors and finally from national to local actors.”
Terror and Performance
“In this exceptional investigation Rustom Bharucha considers the realities of Islamophobia, the legacies of Truth and Reconciliation, the deadly certitudes of State-controlled security systems and the legitimacy of counter-terror terrorism, drawing on a vast spectrum of human cruelties across the global South. The outcome is a brilliantly argued case for seeing terror as a volatile and mutant phenomenon that is deeply lived, experienced, and performed within the cultures of everyday life.”
Cultural Messaging in the U.S. War on Terrorism A Performative Approach to Security
From the Publisher:
“Sylvia focuses on the impact of the “If You See Something, Say Something” advertising campaign in the New York City subway system. She demonstrates how ideas regarding security and terrorism are socially constructed; it shows how the narrative of the war on terrorism as a political project was linked to the narrative of a local urban security campaign. Her thesis suggests that this advertising campaign perpetuates the politics of fear connected to the greater war on terrorism and that this advertising campaign is a mechanism of social control. Sylvia’s research draws upon and supports Michel Foucault’s understanding of governmentality.”