Why Terrorism Subsides: A Comparative Study of Canada and the United States

Comparative Politics, Vol. 21, No. 4. (July 1989), pp. 405-426

22 Pages Posted: 14 May 2014

See all articles by Jeffrey Ian Ross

Jeffrey Ian Ross

University of Baltimore - School of Law

Ted Robert Gurr

Independent

Date Written: July 1989

Abstract

The prevailing impression given by the mass media, public officials, and experts concerned with oppositional terrorism is that it is a clear and present danger, inexorably on the increase around the world. The statistical evidence on this point is less than persuasive. Unquestionably there was a sustained increase during the 1970s in the global aggregate of international terrorism, defined as terrorism carried out by autonomous nonstate actors and affecting nationals of at least two states. In the 1980s, however, international terrorism has fluctuated markedly from year to year, and it is difficult to reach any conclusions about long-term trends. And unless one subscribes to global conspiracy theories of terrorism, there is no reason to assume that trends or fluctuations in international terrorism have parallels in the incidence of domestic terrorism. Most important, the reliance on global or regional aggregates to analyze trends in either international or domestic terrorism obscures more than it reveals because it conveys the misleading impression that the trends are common to all countries and extremist movements.

Keywords: terrorism, Canada, United States, comparative studies, statistical data, fluctuations, mass media, public officials, experts

JEL Classification: H89, K14, K19, K39, K49

Suggested Citation

Ross, Jeffrey Ian and Gurr, Ted Robert, Why Terrorism Subsides: A Comparative Study of Canada and the United States (July 1989). Comparative Politics, Vol. 21, No. 4. (July 1989), pp. 405-426, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2436573

Jeffrey Ian Ross (Contact Author)

University of Baltimore - School of Law ( email )

1420 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
United States

Ted Robert Gurr

Independent ( email )

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