Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 12 x 2 hour (combined lecture/seminar)
Practical In-class textual and filmic analysis


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x class learning log  20%
Semester Assessment 1 x 3,500 word essay  60%
Semester Assessment 1 x 1,500 word film review  20%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Identify and critically evaluate the primary cultural representations of terrorism in Western society today.
2. Critically assess the main theories, approaches, debates and controversies surrounding the role of discourse, representation and culture in politics.
3. Display an understanding of the main epistemic, cultural and political consequences of the different representations of terrorism and counter-terrorism.
4. Display a broad understanding of the academic fields of orthodox terrorism studies and critical terrorism studies.
5. Exhibit a series of specific discourse-analytical skills of cultural-political analysis.
6. Display an ethical-normative framework for evaluating the representation and politics of terrorism.

Brief description

Since the late 1960s and more specifically the 2001 attacks on the Twin Towers, terrorism has emerged in Western societies as a ubiquitous negative ideograph - a primary means of defining national identity. This course explores the primary means through which terrorism has been socially and culturally constructed as a discursive subject through political discourse, media representation and the academic study of terrorism. The main aim of the module is to provide the student with a set of conceptual and analytical tools through which to evaluate and understand contemporary representations of terrorism, and to assess the epistemological, cultural and political consequences of different forms of representation. Throughout the course students will engage in numerous exercises involving analyzing prominent cultural representations of terrorism, such as newspaper articles, speeches, television programmes, movies and academic writings. Each class will entail a mix of theoretical perspectives to the subject followed by interactive analysis of a various cultural texts and problem-solving exercises.


1. Introduction - The Myths of Terrorism;
2. The Terrorism Industry - The Construction of Knowledge;
3. Defining the Terrorist Subject;
4. Threat, Danger and Taboo - The Politics of Fear;
5. Terrorism and Popular Entertainment;
6. Suicide Terrorism, Religion and Islam;
7. Terrorism and the Maintenance of National Identity;
8. Counter-Terrorism and the Social Construction of Torture;
9. 9/11 - The Construction of a Narrative;
10. The Social Construction of the War on Terror;
11. Terrorism Studies, Culture and the Ghosts of State Terror;
12. Conclusion - Counter-Hegemony and the Politics of Resistance


This module examines terrorism as an identity-defining cultural construct and explores the forms and consequences of different kinds of political and cultural representations. It complements existing provision in a number of areas and will allow students to gain specialist knowledge of the key issues, debates and approaches to the cultural-political analysis of terrorism, as well as skills in discourse and narrative analysis.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing and how to assert themselves to advantage. They will understand the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to the best advantage. They will learn to be clear in their writing and speaking and to be direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic, focus and objectives of their argument or discussion. Lecture-seminars will be run in an interactive way, with oral discussion forming a central medium of teaching. The emphasis throughout the module will be on student participation and communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management and self-directed learning, but within a context in which support and assistance is available from both the convenor and fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and to exercise their own initiative, including searching for sources, compiling reading lists, and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their coursework. The need to submit a major essay and to meet coursework deadlines will focus students¿ attention on the need to manage their time and opportunity resources well.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources (such as Web of Science and OCLC).
Personal Development and Career planning The discussions in particular will help to develop students¿ verbal and presentation skills. Learning about the process of planning coursework and a presentation, framing the parameters of the projects, honing and developing the projects and seeing them through to completion will contribute towards students¿ portfolios of transferable skills. In addition, the course aims to help students develop a personal ethical framework for understanding and responding to issues of terrorism, culture and politics.
Problem solving Independent project work and problem solving will be one of the central goals of the module; the submission of weekly coursework will require that students develop independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed through the setting of specific problem-solving exercises during the class, group discussions in which students are asked to adopt alternative points of view and debate conceptual and empirical arguments.
Research skills The submission of regular coursework will reflect the independent research skills of students. The need to locate appropriate research resources and write up the results will also facilitate research skills. Research for an essay worth 65% of the course grade will provide the opportunity for a major development of individual scholarly research skills.
Subject Specific Skills Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate empirical examples and theoretical ideas on the module. These subject specific skills include: ¿ Collect and understand a wide range of data and information relating to the module ¿ Ability to evaluate competing theories and perspectives ¿ Demonstrate social scientific research techniques ¿ Apply a range of methodologies to complex political problems and cultural analysis
Team work Lecture-seminars will consist in part of small-group discussion where students will be obliged to discuss as a group the core issues related to class topics. Such class room debates and discussions are a vital component of the module.


This module is at CQFW Level 6