Successful terrorism: Framework and review

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Is terrorism successful? This oft-asked but infrequently answered question is at the heart of understanding terrorism’s use. Effective policy and practice rest on a clear appreciation of how terrorism succeeds and fails. This paper identifies and reviews the literature on terrorism’s effectiveness and considers its strengths and
weaknesses. To organise the review, a multi-level framework for conceptualising
the goals of terrorism and its enactors is presented. Crucially, this includes the
perspective of both sides of the conflict dyad, and considers the tactical,
organisational, strategic and ultimate goals of extremist groups. This speaks to
the need for a comprehensive framework within which to situate the question of
terrorism’s goals, and aims to assess the state of the knowledge with respect to
terrorism’s efficacy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-150
JournalBehavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression
Issue number2
Early online date6 Jun 2011
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • terrorism, success, metrics, extremist group goals


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