Democracy Causes Terrorism: Methodological Flaws, a New Approach, and a New Answer

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Journal of Pedagogy, Pluralism, and Practice, Vol: 6, Issue: 1, Page: 85

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Brophy-Baermann, Bryan
article description
A critical analysis of the dominant quantitative methodologies used to analyze international terrorism reveals serious flaws in the conceptualization of key terms, the measurement of key variables and the statistical estimation of key relationships, all of which lead to unsubstantiated results. I deconstruct these issues, and extend the literature on the relationship of regime type and acts of terrorism in the following ways: I add to the quantitative literature on the subject; I use an updated database on global terrorist events (START--Global Terrorism Database) which includes domestic and international events; and I analyze rates of terrorism by a variety of categories of system types across both space and time (all countries, 1970-2012). I demonstrate that democracies are not the primary targets of terrorists, and that much more work needs to be done to understand the causes of extreme political violence, given its non-random, yet highly stochastic nature.