Vient de paraître: Security networks and counter-terrorism: a reflection on the limits of adversarial isomorphism

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in Martin Bouchard (ed.), Social networks, terrorism and counter-terrorism: Radical and connected, Routledge, 2015.

Résumé du livre: This book examines two key themes in terrorism studies, the radicalization process and counter-terrorism policies, through the lens of social networks. The book aims to show that networks should be at the forefront not only when analysing terrorists, but also when assessing the responses to their actions. The volume makes a unique contribution by addressing two relatively new themes for terrorism studies. First it puts social relations and cooperation issues at the forefront – an approach often identified as crucial to future breakthroughs in the field. Second, many contributions tackle the role of the Internet in the process of radicalization and in recruitment more generally, a highly debated topic in the field today. In addition, the book provides a valuable mix of review essays, critical essays, and original empirical studies. This balanced approach is also found in the topics covered by the authors, as well as their academic disciplines, which include sociology, computer science, geography, history, engineering, and criminology as well as political science. Many of the true advances in terrorism studies depend on the successful collaboration of multi-disciplinary teams, each with a different set of methodological and conceptual tools. This volume reflects the newfound diversity in this field and is a true product of its time. This book will be of much interest to students of terrorism studies, social networks, security studies, sociology, criminology and international relations in general.

Résumé du chapitre: The growing body of knowledge on the structure of terrorist networks, their flexibility to adapt to very hostile environments and their resilience in the face of law enforcement disruption, has spawned the idea that “it takes a network to fight a network”. A number of counter-terrorism strategies have resulted from this new philosophy, which attempt to leverage the network paradigm in order to improve the responsiveness and effectiveness of security bureaucracies. However, this chapter argues that some of the risks (or costs) inherent to the adoption of this nodal approach have been underestimated – or plainly ignored, despite their serious implications on the democratic governance of security. Three crucial dilemmas (the trust, information and legality dilemmas) faced by counter-terrorism networks will help explain why adversarial isomorphism should be considered with great caution and why bureaucracies should not be discarded from the counter-terrorism toolbox.

A copy of the chapter is available on demand at / une copie du chapitre est disponible sur demande à

This content has been updated on August 4, 2015 at 9 h 04 min.