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Terrorism and Counterterrorism: Comparing Theory and Practice

Coursera · Universiteit Leiden · 1 HN points · 3 HN comments

HN Academy has aggregated all Hacker News stories and comments that mention Coursera's "Terrorism and Counterterrorism: Comparing Theory and Practice" from Universiteit Leiden.
Course Description

Terrorism has arguably been one of the defining factors of our age. It frequently makes headlines, threatening or attacking governments, private business and ordinary citizens. And in many parts of the world, it has been one of the most important threats to peace, security and stability. But what does this exactly mean? What is the nature of this threat? Who or what is threatened, how, by whom and why? What can be done about it or how can we at least limit the impact of terrorism and make sure that terrorists do not make headlines and manage to scare us?

These are just a handful of questions that will be addressed in this course that consists of three parts. First it focuses on the essence of terrorism as an instrument to achieve certain goals, in addition to an exploration of this phenomenon and the difficulties in defining it.

The second part provides an overview of the state of the art in (counter) terrorism studies. Since ‘9/11’ terrorism studies have grown exponentially, reflecting the rise in perceived threats. But what has academia come up with? What theories, assumptions and conventional wisdom has it produced that could be of help in understanding terrorism and dealing with it? The most interesting results are examined and compared with empirical evidence with the aim to either stress their importance or to debunk them as myths.

The final part looks into the implications and possibilities for policy making. The course ends with a module specifically designed to address one of today's most topical issue: the foreign fighter phenomenon.

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This course is offered by Universiteit Leiden on the Coursera platform.
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Hacker News Stories and Comments

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Oct 14, 2020 · Fnoord on Is the World Getting Safer?
Outliers with high impact become news. This is one reason why people become more afraid for an airplane or terrorist than a car accident.

Recommended related material: the book Factfulness by Hans Rosling [1] and Terrorism and Counterterrorism: Comparing Theory and Practice by Universiteit Leiden [2].



Nov 06, 2017 · Fnoord on Can Germany Fix Facebook?
> because 'terrorism' is a rather ill-defined term

Terrorism is well defined, by Alex P. Schmid in 1988:

Schmid and Jongman (1988): "Terrorism is an anxiety-inspiring method of repeated violent action, employed by (semi-) clandestine individual, group or state actors, for idiosyncratic, criminal or political reasons, whereby - in contrast to assassination - the direct targets of violence are not the main targets. The immediate human victims of violence are generally chosen randomly (targets of opportunity) or selectively (representative or symbolic targets) from a target population, and serve as message generators. Threat- and violence-based communication processes between terrorist (organization), (imperilled) victims, and main targets are used to manipulate the main target (audience(s)), turning it into a target of terror, a target of demands, or a target of attention, depending on whether intimidation, coercion, or propaganda is primarily sought".

As well as by "The Revised Academic Consensus Definition of Terrorism (2011)" by Alex Schmid available at [1]

The problems derive from definition being complex. Examples: laymen don't have the analytical power, powers that be have a conflict of interest as you describe. However that is certainly not the same as terrorism being an ill-defined term.

The revised definition is used world wide by terrorism experts such as Prof. Dr. Beatrice de Graaf and Prof. Dr. Edwin Bakker.

If this subjects is of interest to you I recommend the Coursera course "Terrorism and Counterterrorism: Comparing Theory and Practice" [2] by Prof. Dr. Edwin Bakker.



Learning How To Learn by Barbara Oakly on Coursera It teaches you fundamentals of how the brain works, and how to improve your learning. It is free. Those three factors make it a great first course.

Cryptography I by Dan Boneh on Coursera I actually can't recommend it to everyone because I didn't complete it and I just wasn't intelligent enough on the material to complete it. This requires one to be good with advanced maths, and I got migraine issues from this (same as with advanced maths in my youth). However it is very well explained. The problem was me, not Dan Boneh's course.

Positive Psychology by Barbara Fredrickson My significant other completed this course (I have not tried it yet), and highly recommends it. Its on my list.

Securing Democracy by J. Alex Halderman I thought I was interested in this subject, and I was to some extend, but I was not enough interested to follow the course to the end. However the course as far as I took it was excellent.

Terrorism and Counterterrorism: Comparing Theory and Practice by Edwin Bakker I didn't complete this course either but it was interesting and good nonetheless.

There are just a few of the courses I can recommend, and it doesn't contain the one I'm currently one because I haven't completed it yet (will likely include it once completed). There's also courses I cannot recommend (it also depends on the audience). I will resort to the positive angle though wink.

One thing I got from the courses is that it is OK to not complete a course. You can regard it as time waste which is fair enough. My goal is not to get a certificate though. That's merely a byproduct. My goal is to learn (which is a process), to satisfy my taste for knowledge. However Coursera changed its terms of usage last years and ever since I used the platform less.

Dec 22, 2016 · 1 points, 0 comments · submitted by Fnoord
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