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The Terrible Geographicalness of Terrorism: Reflections of a Hazards Geographer

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Oppositional engagement with the phenomenon of terrorism by geographers could bring much needed scholarly clarity and balance to the militaristic dominant discourse on terrorism. The hazards subfield within the discipline of geography is germane to research on terrorism, as hazards geographers have been deeply concerned with environmental and technological extremes threatening human life and well‐being. A hazards perspective on terrorism could contribute towards defining terrorism, clarifying the contours of the terrorism discourse, root causes, and response. Insights gleaned from geographical research on social violence, technological and environmental hazards can be eminently applicable to researching various aspects of terrorism. The fundamental point is that terrorism is a deeply geographical phenomenon with potentially disastrous consequences for international peace. Beyond enhancing human safety, the geographical research agenda in terrorism will be part of the struggle to wrest control of the terrorism terminology away from the Western politico‐military elites, to keep them from using it to whip their real or imagined enemies.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Geography, University of South Florida, St Petersburg, Florida, USA;, Email:

Publication date: January 1, 2005

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