Research Project - Ancient Virtues in Modern Contention - Update June 2014 - Website launched

Update: The Website for this new research project can be found at

Back in 2011, I was sitting in the lunch after my PhD viva. Osama bin Laden had just been killed a few days before, and I quipped that I couldn’t understand how the press was talking about him as if he were somehow a bad person. It wasn’t a remark I’d have made for public consumption. But what surprised me was the way in which two hardened scholars also winced when I said it. I suppose it was a bad taste joke. But I actually meant a lot of what I said. We might find Bin Laden’s personal beliefs unpleasant. And of course, his actions were appalling in their consequences. But it is difficult to argue that he was a personally repugnant individual having accepted that he believed what he believed, and did what he honestly felt he needed to do. Bin Laden was certainly complex. He had his own flaws and demons. But he was also a man of principle, conscience and even sensitivity. In many ways, we can say that he was a good man, even if he was a good man in a bad cause. Read More...

Javier Argomaniz talks at the NATO School, Oberammergau

Javier Argomaniz has recently been invited to lecture at the NATO School Defence Against Terrorism Course running from 9 to 13 June. Dr Argomaniz gave a lecture on Social Network Analysis and the disruption of terrorist networks. The talk considered the practical applications of this technique to the study of terrorism after 9/11 and summarised the contributions that this form of research has made to our knowledge on how terrorism works.

In addition, he also presented on the subject of Victims of Terrorism Needs in UK and Spain. In this lecture, Dr Argomaniz discussed some of the findings from a European Commission-funded study in which he and CSTPV colleague Orla Lynch are the principal investigators. The online portal containing extensive information about the project can be found here .

Roddy Brett teaching at the Fletcher Summer Institute for the Advanced Study of Nonviolent Conflict (FSI)

CSTPV’s Dr Roddy Brett is teaching at the Fletcher Summer Institute for the Advanced Study of Nonviolent Conflict (FSI) organised in conjunction with the International Centre for Non-Violent Conflict (ICNC) and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy of Tufts University. The programme offers a certificate in the Advanced Study of Nonviolent Conflict that draws upon its multi-disciplinary approach to global affairs and is taught by leading scholars and practitioners of strategic nonviolent action and authorities from related fields. Dr. Brett will be lecturing about how grassroots civil resistance movements form, organise, strategise, mobilise, select tactics, negotiate, and create change in contexts of political violence, peace processes and post conflict scenarios in Latin America.

Sarah Marsden to Speak at the International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences at University of British Columbia, Canada

Dr Sarah Marsden will present a paper at the International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences at the University of British Columbia, Canada on 12 June 2014.

Title: Successful Resettlement of Politically Motivated Ex-prisoners: Competing Approaches

Abstract: Increasingly, governments are facing the challenge of resettling those convicted of terrorism offences at the end of their prison term. This raises questions about the effectiveness of rehabilitative efforts and the best way of reducing the risk that these individuals will commit a further terrorist offence. Drawing on research with those tasked with this work in the United Kingdom, this paper examines two competing approaches to engaging with ex-offenders: the "strengths based" approach and the "risk" model. The first encourages the individual to conceive of ways to work towards a positive future, whilst the second tries to plug perceived deficits, such as poor educational attainment, and manage risk through control and monitoring. Based on extensive interviews and observation of statutory and third sector actors as they carried out this work, this paper argues that practitioners see promise in a strengths based approach, but given the risk these ex-prisoners are deemed to pose, and the limited knowledge we have of what might promote desistance from further offending, a risk focused model prevails. As well as setting out the research that underpins this conclusion, this paper explores the theoretical and practical implications for academics and practitioners working in the field, including the inadequacy of the term "deradicalisation," and the need to invest further in understanding successful resettlement of politically motivated ex-prisoners.

Tim Wilson Awarded Visiting Scholarship

CSTPV is delighted to announce that Dr Tim Wilson has been awarded a Visiting Scholarship to Sidney Sussex College (Cambridge), from January to June 2015.

The Guardian University Guide 2015 - School of International Relations Ranked First


Amongst another set of superb results for the University of St Andrews the Handa CSTPV is delighted to announce that the School of International Relations has been ranked first in the UK for the Politics subject area.

Overall the University is ranked third in the UK only just behind Oxbridge with many Schools making a strong showing in their respective subject areas.

A full break down of the league tables is available here.

Review – Jihadi Culture on the World Wide Web

Gilbert Ramsay’s book “Jihadi Culture on the World Wide Web” has been reviewed on the E-International Relations site.

"Drawing from a wealth of original Arabic-language primary sources, his book makes a novel and highly valuable contribution to the debates surrounding violent radicalization online."

"Jihadi Culture on the World Wide Web is a remarkable piece of scholarship."

To read the full review please visit

JTR, Volume 5, Issue 2 Published

The Handa CSTPV is delighted to announce the publication of the Journal of Terrorism Studies, Volume 5, Issue 2.



A Case Study of Anders B. Breivik’s Intergroup Conceptualisation
by Mathias Holmen Johnsen

Operation Enduring Freedom: Institutional Constraints, Alliance Commitments, and the Power Capabilities of Counterterrorism
by Kyle T Kattelman

Adversarial Framing: President Bashar al-Assad’s Depiction of the Armed Syrian Opposition
by Fabien Merz

Operation Pillar of Defence and the 2013 Israeli Elections: Defensive or Provocative Intervention?   
by Philippe Orenes

Book Reviews

Barry Scott Zellen, State of Recovery: The Quest to Restore American Security After 9/11 (New York: Bloomsbury, 2013)
Gilbert Ramsay, Jihadi Culture on the World Wide Web ( New York: Bloomsbury, 2013)
reviewed by Richard English

Journal of Terrorism Studies