Terrorism as a Theoretical and Historical Problem: Some Aspects of Interpretation

Terrorism as a Theoretical and Historical Problem:
Some Aspects of Interpretation

Gutorov V.A.,

Dr. Sci. (Philos.), Professor, Head of Department of Theory and Philosophy of Politics, Faculty of Political Science, Saint Petersburg State University, gut-50@mail.ru

elibrary_id: 72442 | ORCID: 0000-0001-8063-2558 | RESEARCHER_ID: F-7724-2013

Shirinyants A.A.,

Dr. Sci. (Pol. Sci.), Professor, Head of Department of History of Social and Political Doctrines, Faculty of Political Science, Lomonosov Moscow State University, jants@yandex.ru

elibrary_id: 481779 |

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2017.03.03

For citation:

Gutorov V.A., Shirinyants A.A. Terrorism as a Theoretical and Historical Problem: Some Aspects of Interpretation. – Polis. Political Studies. 2017. No. 3. P. 30-54. (In Russ.). https://doi.org/10.17976/jpps/2017.03.03


The article analyzes the main interpretations in modern political science and political philosophy of the phenomenon of terrorism. In the public орinion, terrorism as the most important factor of contemporary politics is often perceived in a very superficial way. Many modern interpretations of terrorism, despite their apparent objectivity have consistently produced a stencil historical logic, based on purely external perception of terrorism as a subversive activity of individuals and small groups, guided by very different political motives. The media constantly reproduce this trend, creating conventional images of terrorists in political memory and thereby false perception of the true objectives they pursue and the real corporate structures that finance and direct their activities. The article proves the thesis that despite the stable liberal stereotypes, state terrorism should be viewed as a universal matrix while all other forms of individual and group terrorism, regardless of their social, class or ideological orientation, derive from this basic source. The paper considers the specific features of revolutionary terrorism in frames of a comparison of the historical experience of the French and Russian October Revolutions. In the course of a comparative analysis, the article critically assesses the results of the interpretation of this experience in the general sociological theories of Michael Mann, Barrington Moore and Immanuel Wallerstein and political philosophy of Neo-Marxism (Terry Eagleton, Fredric Jameson). The paper proves that the adequate scientific definitions of terrorism contribute to the destruction of some historiosophical concepts, which in recent decades have transformed into stable political myths. One of the most famous of these concepts is the theory of the ‘clash of civilizations.’ 

history; revolution; state terrorism; political philosophy; social dynamics; theoretical interpretation; contemporary politics; left radicalism.


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Content No. 3, 2017

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