No. 32 / Rethinking terrorism from the International”

To be published in June 2016

Terrorism is a well-known word, widely used in politics. Virtually anyone in the word has suffered terrorism or at least has been touched by the counterterrorism measures governments are deploying in our societies. Thousands of people have died or mained in terrorist attacks. Broadcast executions like the ones committed by ISIS are intended to provoke terror and they manage to achieve it.

Because of this, since the 9/11 attacks, the research in the terrorism studies field has increased exponentially and more and more authors started analysing the “phenomenon” of terrorism, the counterterrorism measures that should be adopted -fighting methods similar to the ones used by the people they are supposed to fight, outside any framework of ius in bello (in fact, there is no declaredbellum)-, the repercussions it has on our societies, the roots causes of it, the consequences on its victims and so on.

Terrorism has thus become a very widespread term in politics and is nowadays one of the most powerful words in our contemporary society. Nevertheless, terrorism is not a neutral word: when uttered, it invokes emotions of fear, hatred and panic, being in this sense a highly pejorative word that can be said to have almost reached a “taboo” status. However, in spite of the wide usage of the word, a big question arise if we analyse it closely: what is exactly terrorism? As a matter of fact, there is still no universal definition of terrorism and governments, international organizations, NGOs and scholars seem not to be close to the formulation of a fixed definition of it. But, why does this happen? Why is terrorism so difficult to define and to analyse?

There are many possible answers to these questions but probably it is possible to summarize them all under the idea that with the term terrorism governments and international organizations are supposed to describe very different political phenomena depending on their different political views and interests. Thus, terrorism is best read as a socially constructed word whose meaning is created through a discourse that, as Pierre Bourdieu would argue, has managed to become very strong because of the symbolic capital the political powers behind its formulation own, especially thanks to their position in the political society. “The discursive power works concealing the terms in which it has been constructed and, therefore, malleability and contingency: either the discourse fixes the significance naturalizing it or it loses its power as a discourse” (Brown, Wendy, La política fuera de la historia, Enclave de Libros, Madrid, 2014, p. 175).

Our idea is that it is possible to read terrorism in a different way which is not the one in which the mainstream, “orthodox” studies on terrorism have understood it. Consequently, what we would like to do in this number is to “Rethink Terrorism from the International”. Leaving aside the traditional, orthodox views on terrorism and the mainstream way it is intended, we would like to rethink the concept of international terrorism by analyzing it both from a theoretical and practical point of view. In this sense, many authors from the International Relations and not provide us with theoretical tools that may help us to examine and deconstruct international terrorism: constructivism, reflectionism, the Frankfurt school, the Paris school, Foucault's genealogy and the critical discourse analysis are all approaches that provide us with tools that may help us reconsider what we think we know about international terrorism, its causes and its consequences.

We are thus looking for contributions, both theoretical and practical, that may contribute to the debate on international terrorism, that may help us see it in a new way and may answer the major questions that are related with this new way of understanding and deconstructing international terrorism.


Abstracts: 7th October 2015.

The abstracts (max. 250 words) should be sent via email to the following address, the deadline being 17th January 2016:

Notification of acceptance or refusal will be done along the week following the deadline.


The articles accepted must be sent no later than the 17th January 2016 and abide by the Style Guide (in Spanish, Manual de Estilo) of our journal for submission to a double blind peer-review. The articles must be uploaded on the Relaciones Internacionales website (, after registering as an author.

For registration, please follow the instructions posted in the section “Sending articles” on the website:

For further information and questions please contact:
Alice Martini -


Articles in Spanish or English will be accepted. 
The articles will be translated into Spanish for publication.