module specification

SS7143 - Terrorism and Counter Terrorism (2020/21)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2020/21
Module title Terrorism and Counter Terrorism
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 200
33 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
167 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Essay 4,500 Words
Running in 2020/21
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Tuesday Morning

Module summary

 This module explores the relationship between the state and terrorism and considers how the nation state has been the perpetrator and a motivating factor behind terrorist acts, as well as considering other reasons behind such acts of violence. Students will consider the role of the state as a protector of its citizens has been challenged by its own actions and by terrorist organisations including groups such as ISIS.
The module goes on to outline contemporary terrorist tactics and reviews the impact on national and international responses to terrorism


Following an introductory session the module will address the following topics:
• The role of the nation state defining, protecting from and perpetrating terrorist activities LO1
• Terrorism pre 9/11 LO2, LO3
• Islamic Terrorism LO3
• Radicalisation and home grown terrorism LO1, LO3
• Prison and radicalisation LO1, LO3, LO4
• Terrorist desistence LO4
• Global responses to terrorism LO5
• UK counter- terrorism, Contest and Prevent LO5

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Teaching sessions consist of a series of lectures and seminar group sessions in which students are encouraged to explore the political, strategic and tactical complexities of terrorism and counter terrorism. Students draw upon case studies and examine actual operational scenarios. Module materials will be made available on Blackboard (Web-learn) and opportunities for personal development planning are provided in seminar contexts. Students are expected to undertake 10 hours of independent study per week.

This module will also be delivered through the use of distance learning strategies as follows:
• E-learning: delivered using computers utilising internet technology and programming which allows the student to interact with the learning materials via chat rooms, online office hours and notice boards. The present WebLearn facilities are sufficient to cover these methods.
• Online Lectures:  lectures are to be recorded digitally and placed onto WebLearn and released to the students as required.
• Written materials: Students will be provided with written materials such as articles in electronic format (e.g. pdf files). WebLearn to be used as a repository for such material.

Learning outcomes

1. Explore the role of the state as protector from and perpetrator of terrorist violence
2. Outline different motivations involved in why individuals and groups become radical
3. Explain contemporary terrorist tactics within a historical context
4. Consider lessons contained in examples of terrorist desistance 
5. Discuss the impacts of counter terrorism measures and the war on terror on both radicals and the wider public

Assessment strategy

 Students to write a 4,500 word essay as set by the module leader that critically evaluates issues relating to the origins of terrorism, contemporary terrorism and/or counter terrorism measures. Students will need so show their ability to connect issues covered within different lectures, whist still focusing on a specific area of terrorism and counter terrorism research.


 Core Reading
Innes, M. and Levi, M. (2012) ‘Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism’, in Morgan, R. et al. (Eds) The Oxford Handbook of Criminology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. pp. 660-686.

Wilkinson, P. 2001. Terrorism Versus Democracy: The Liberal State Response. Abingdon: Frank Cass

Boaz Ganor (2002) Defining Terrorism: Is One Man's Terrorist another Man's Freedom Fighter?, Police Practice and Research, 3:4, 287-304,

Barak, G. (1990) ‘Crime, Criminology and Human Rights: Towards an Understanding of State Criminality’, The Journal of Human Justice, 2(1), pp. 11–28. 

Imran Awan (2013) Muslim Prisoners, Radicalization and Rehabilitation in British Prisons, Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, 33:3, 371-384

Or Honig & Ido Yahel (2017): A Fifth Wave of Terrorism? The Emergence of Terrorist Semi-States, Terrorism and Political Violence

Rapoport, D.C (2011).The Four Waves of Rebel Terror and September 11 Anthropoetics VIII, no. 1 Spring/ Summer 2002 (

Rapoport, D.C (2004).The four waves of modern terrorism, Chapter 2 in Cronin, A and Ludes. J  (2004) eds Attacking terrorism: elements of a grand strategy: Washington D.C. Georgetown University Press

Additional Reading

Bauman, Z (2013) Modernity and the Holocaust. Cambridge: Polity

CHOMSKY, A. N. (2004). The new military humanism: lessons from Kosovo. Delhi, Rainbow.

COHEN, S. (2015). States of denial: knowing about atrocities and suffering. Cambridge: Polity

René Karpantschof (2015) Violence that matters! Radicalization and deradicalization of leftist, urban movements – Denmark 1981–2011, Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism

Tsintsadze-Maass, E., Maass, R.W., 2014. Groupthink and Terrorist Radicalization. Terrorism and Political Violence 26, 735–758.

Burcu Pinar Alakoc (2017) Competing to Kill: Terrorist Organizations Versus Lone Wolf Terrorists, Terrorism and Political Violence, 29:3, 509-532

Richard E. Berkebile (2017) What Is Domestic Terrorism? A Method for Classifying Events From the Global Terrorism Database, Terrorism and Political Violence, 29:1, 1-26

Richardson, L. 2006. What Terrorists Want: Understanding the Terrorist Threat. London: John Murray

Jones, C (2014) Are prisons really schools for terrorism? Challenging the rhetoric on prison radicalization Punishment & Society 16(1) 74–103

Useem, B (2012) US Prisons and the myth of Islamic Terrorism American Sociological Association Contexts, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp. 34-39.

Gabe Mythen, Sandra Walklate, Elizabeth-Jane Peatfield, 2016. Assembling and deconstructing radicalisation in PREVENT: A case of policy-based evidence making? Critical Social Policy 37, 180–201.

Mythen, G (2017) Radicalisation in PREVENT: A case of policy-based evidence making? Critical Social Policy 2017, Vol. 37(2): 180–201