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Thesis title:

The Definitional dilemma of terrorism: Integrating policy, literature and reality.

Supervisor: Professor Richard English

Thesis Summary

This research focuses on the definitional challenges posed by the term ‘terrorism’ in the light of government policies, academic literature and recorded terrorist incidents. It will assess the overall efforts and progress of academic literature and governmental policies in addressing the definitional dilemma of terrorism. The ontological roots of terrorism will also be sought, to give, in effect, a methodological justification for comparing and combining the various epistemological reflections with historically grounded research. The research will thus take up a three-dimensional methodological approach to address and examine the definitional dilemma of terrorism. This research ultimately aims at developing an integrated ‘theory of terrorism’, which up till now is non-existent. It will argue that a complete, comprehensive and integrated theory of terrorism will eventually lay groundwork for the development of a universally agreed definition of terrorism.


Theory of terrorism, definition of terrorism, philosophy of terrorism, political violence, history of terrorism and political violence.