Rethinking the Roots of Terrorism seeks to explain why terrorism occurs. It is a comprehensive interdisciplinary survey that investigates all the possible motivations, reasons and causes of terrorism at all levels in society. It takes as its starting point a neutral and objective non-judgmental definition of terrorism, which is intended to relocate the understanding of terrorism out of the highly constraining, subjective and judgmental moral legitimacy debate and into a neutral conflict-orientated understanding of terrorism. Franks is critical of orthodox terrorism discourse and the normative use of the conventional understanding of terrorism. He seeks to open the debate on the causes of terrorism by aligning it with the causes of conflict and thus using the methods and approaches provided by conflict resolution to rethink the roots of terrorist violence. Franks reveals the multifarious and multilevel political, social and economic causes and motivations that generate terrorism and are not considered by the orthodox approach.

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