Fifty Shades of Terrorist Credit-Taking: A Systematic Review of the Existing Scholarship on Terrorist Credit-Taking

Publikation: Working paperForskningpeer review

Abstrakt

What considerations drive terrorist organizations to claim responsibility for their attacks? And how does the existing literature explain the high level of unclaimed attacks (2016: 84%, GTD)? At first glance such low credit-taking rates counter the widespread view of terrorism as a strategy aimed at bringing about political change – how are terrorists supposed to achieve political objectives if they, and therefore also their objectives, remain anonymous? To answer these questions, this systematic review critically disseminates the limited existing scholarship in an overlooked field within terrorism studies: terrorist credit-taking. Aside from providing an overview of the current knowledge of what drives terrorist organizations to take credit for attacks, the review also recognizes severe methodological and theoretical shortcomings in the existing scholarship. Several scholars unwittingly, but systematically, leave out tens of thousands of observations (exceeding 40% of the sum of observations) in their statistical analyses of what factors lead terrorist groups to take credit for attacks. This creates a strong bias of results in favor of non-findings. Other scholars provide explanations of terrorist credit-taking, which completely sideline the character of the goals that make terrorism a political phenomenon. The implications of these theoretical and methodological problems will be discussed in the paper.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
StatusAfsendt - 2019

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