Recommended Readings

As a self-taught scholar in the field of (counter-)terrorism (research), I have decided to put together a list of books, (academic) articles and research publications I thought would be a useful resource for upcoming scholars in search of literary guidance or even established researchers seeking theoretical or methodological reinforcement. This is in no way an attempt to offer an exhaustive list of important readings, but to merely offer an outline of the literature’s key themes, debates and theories.

Disclaimer: Unless otherwise indicated (*), I am in no way affiliated with the authors and publishers mentioned below. My recommendations are in no way an indication of my endorsement of the arguments and views expressed in the texts.

Prescribed Books

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

(Ed.) Jackson, R., Smyth, B. M. & Gunning, J. 2009. Critical Terrorism Studies: A New Research Agenda. New York: Routledge.

LaFree, G. & Freilich, D. J. 2017. The Handbook of the Criminology of Terrorism. Chichester: Wiley & Sons.

Defining Terrorism

Ganor, B. 2002. Defining Terrorism: Is One Man’s Terrorist Another Man’s Freedom Fighter? Media Asia, Vol. 29(3): 123-133.

Acharya, D. U. 2009. War on Terrorism or Terrorism Wars: The Problem in Defining Terrorism. Denver Journal of International Law and Policy, Vol. 37(4): 653-679.

Schmid, P. A. 2012. The Revised Academic Consensus Definition of Terrorism. Perspectives on Terrorism, Vol. 6(2): 158-159.

Hodgson, S. J. & Tadros, V. 2013. The Impossibility of Defining Terrorism. New Criminal Law Review: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal, Vol. 16(3): 494-526.

Schmid. P. A. 2008. Frameworks for Conceptualising Terrorism. Terrorism and Political Violence, Vol. 16(2): 197-221.

Michael P. S. 2004. Defining Terrorism as the Peacetime Equivalent of War Crimes: Problems and Prospects. Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law, Vol. 36(2): 359-374.

Englund, S. & Stohl, M. 2016. Constructions of Terrorism. Perspectives on Terrorism, Vol. 10(3): 33-39.

Waves Theory

Rapoport, C. D. 2004. The Four Waves of Modern Terrorism in Attacking Terrorism: Elements of a Grand Strategy by Cronin, A. K. & Ludes, J.M. Washington D.C: Georgetown University Press.

Kaplan, J. 2008. Terrorism’s Fifth Wave, a Theory, a Conundrum, a Dilemma. Perspectives on Terrorism, Vol. 2(2): 12-24.

Parker, T. & Sitter, N. 2016. The Four Horsemen of Terrorism: It’s not Waves it’s Strains. Terrorism and Political Violence, Vol. 28(2): 197-216.

Rapoport, C. D. 2016. It’s Waves not Strains. Terrorism and Political Violence, Vol. 28(2): 217-224.

Kaplan, J. 2016. A Strained Criticism of Wave Theory. Terrorism and Political Violence, Vol. 28(2): 228-235.

Townshend, C. 2016. Wave and Strain. Terrorism and Political Violence, Vol. 28(2): 225-227.

Sageman, M. 2008. Chapter Three: The Jihadist Profile in Leaderless Jihad. Philadelphia: University of Philadelphia Press.

Honig, O. & Yahel, I. 2019. A Fifth Wave of Terrorism? The Emergence of Terrorist Semi-States. Terrorism and Political Violence, Vol. 31(6): 1210-1228

Strategic Actor Theory/Instrumental Approaches

Kydd, H. A. & Walter, F, B. 2006. The Strategies of Terrorism. International Security, 31(1): 49-80.

Polo, M. T. S. 2019. The Quality of Terrorist Violence: Explaining the Logic of Terrorist Target Choice. Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 20(10): 1-16.

Kettle, L. & Mumford, A. 2016. Terrorist Learning: A New Analytical Framework. Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Vol. 40(7): 523-538.

Pape, A. R. 2003. The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism. American Political Science Review, Vol. 97(3): 343-361.

Keeney, L. G. & von Winterfeldt, D. 2010. Identifying and Structuring the Objectives of Terrorists. Risk Analysis, Vol. 30(12): 1803-1816.

Van Um, E. 2009. Discussing Concepts of Terrorist Rationality: Implications for Counter-terrorism Policy. Berlin: Economics of Security.


Schmid, P. A. 2013. Radicalisation, De-radicalisation, Counter-radicalisation: A Conceptual Discussion and Literature Review. The Hague: The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism.

Kundnani, A. 2012. Radicalisation: The Journey of a Concept. Institute of Race Relations, Vol. 54(2): 3-25.

United Nations Development Programme. 2017. Journey to Extremism in Africa: Drivers, Incentives and the Tipping Point for Recruitment. New York: United Nations Development Programme.

Amarasingam, A. & Dawson, L. L. 2018. “I Left to be Closer to Allah”: Learning about Foreign Fighters from Family and Friends. London. Washington D.C, Amman, Beirut, Toronto: Institute for Strategic Dialogue.

Gartenstein-Ross, D. & Grossman, L. 2009. Homegrown Terrorists in the U.S and U.K.: An Empirical Examination of the Radicalisation Process. Washington D.C: Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Horgan, J. 2008. From Profiles to Pathways and Roots to Routes: Perspectives from Psychology on Radicalization into Terrorism. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 618(1): 80-94.

Beevor, E. 2016. Coercive Radicalization: Charismatic Authority and the Internal Strategies of ISIS and the Lord’s Resistance Army. Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Vol. 40(6): 496-521.

Organisational Resilience Theory

Ozdamar, O. 2008. Theorising Terrorist Behaviour: Major Approaches and their Characteristics. Defence Against Terrorism Review, Vol. 1(2): 89-101.

Asal, V. & Rethemeyer, K. R. 2008. The Nature of the Beast: Organisational Structures and the Lethality of Terrorist Attacks. Journal of Politics, Vol. 70(2): 737-449.

Burnard K. & Bhamra, R. 2011. Organisational Resilience: Development of a Conceptual Framework for Organisational Responses. International Journal of Production Research, Vol. 49(18): 5581-5599.

Piazza, A. J. 2009. Is Islamist Terrorism More Dangerous?: An Empirical Study of Group Ideology, Organization and Goal Structure. Terrorism and Political Violence, Vol. 21(1): 62-88.

Kilberg, J. 2012. A Basic Model Explaining Terrorist Group Organisational Structure. Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Vol. 35(11): 810-830.

Helfstein, S. & Wright, D. 2011. Success, Lethality and Cell Structure Across the Dimensions of Al-Qaeda. Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Vol. 34(5): 367-382.

Comas, J., Shrivastava, P. & Martin, C. E. 2015. Terrorism as Formal Organisation, Network and Social Movement. Journal of Management Inquiry, Vol. 24(1): 47-60.


Rabasa, A., Boras, S., Chalk, P., Cragin, K., Karasik, W. T., Moroney, P. D. J., O’Brien, A. K., & Peters, E. J. 2007. Ungoverned Territories: Understanding and Reducing Terrorism Risks. California and Pennsylvania: RAND Corporation.

Pinos, C. J. & Radil, M. S. 2018. The Territorial Contours of Terrorism: A Conceptual Model of Territory for Non-state Violence. Terrorism and Political Violence, 0(0): 1-20.

Agheyisi, J. E. 2017. Terrorized Places and Spaces: The Geographical Dimension of African Terrorism. African Geographical Review, 36(3): 305-319.

Dugan, L., LaFree, G., De la Calle, L., Sanchez-Cuenca, I., & Asal, V. 2012. Killing Civilians or Holding Territory? How to Think about Terrorism. International Studies Review, Vol. 14(3): 475-497.

Bahgat, K. & Medina, M. R. 2013. An Overview of Geographical Perspectives and Approaches in Terrorism Research. Perspectives on Terrorism, 7(1): 38-72.