Defining the concept of terrorism has lead to many debates that have yet to reach an agreed upon universal definition. Throughout the study of political science and psychology many scholars have pioneered definitions for this term, yet none have emerged as universal. The most commonly used definition of terrorism can simply be defined as, a vicious act of violence domestic or foreign. Bruce Hoffman defines terrorism as the deliberate creation and exploitation of fear through violence or the threat of violence in the attainment of political objectives. Hoffman like many other scholars studying terrorism asserts the act of violence is carried out in attempt to reach political agendas. Does the latter statement hold truth, are acts of terror done at free will or are they an outcry in attempt to reach political objectives?
Martha Crenshaw is one of many scholars who study the psychology of terrorism and she makes the claim that the purpose of terrorism is preeminently political and symbolic. Crenshaw suggests that terrorism is deliberate and systemic violence performed by small groups of people. She believes that terrorism is meant to hurt but not destroy, in that it is unlike genocide which purpose serves to eliminate entire communities (Crenshaw 2000). Crenshaw believes that the purpose of terrorism is to “intimidate a watching popular audience by only harming a few.”
What do terrorists do? John Horgan’s book “The Psychology of Terrorism” examines what terrorist do and how