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Terrorism as Failed Political Communication

Mitman, Tyson, Pattwell, Ashley and Porpora, Douglas (2015) Terrorism as Failed Political Communication. International Journal of Communication, 9. pp. 1120-1139.

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Text (an examination of the embedded communicative content of acts of terrorism.)
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Abstract

Some terrorist acts are meant to communicate something beyond the violence they cause. They are a form of political communication that should be studied as such. To identify the acts we consider politically communicative, we develop a typology of primary objectives that ranges from strategic goals to such communicative statements as moral condemnation. We examine why, as a form of political communication, terrorist acts typically fail. Terrorism fails as political communication because it is violent; because targeted audiences often have little prior awareness of the group’s grievances; because it is sometimes a complex communication; and because governments and media frame issues in a way that sidelines the act’s communicative content. In promoting a better understanding of the message, and why it fails, we hope to make this component of terrorism a more robust subject of study for political communication scholars.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
E History America > E11 America (General)
E History America > E151 United States (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JC Political theory
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
School/Department: School of Psychological & Social Sciences
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/2507

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