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From Counterterrorism to Resilience

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Since 9/11 the conceptualisation of terrorism and how governments should respond to the dangers it poses have undergone significant changes. This paper argues that the way in which terrorism is framed, academically and in policy terms, has significant implications for how counterterrorism strategies are developed and applied. It is asserted that the search for appropriate counterterrorism solutions has led to a new synthesis of several academic and practitioner traditions as policy makers and emergency professionals attempt to construct more holistic notions of security. It is further argued that in this effort specialists adopt a new vocabulary—centred on resilience —which is at once proactive and reactive, with an in-built adaptability to the fluid nature of the new security threats challenging states and their urban areas in “the age of terrorism.” It is widely agreed that the world has entered into a new age in which everything will be different: “the age of terror”. Undoubtedly 9/11 will hold a prominent place in the annals of terrorism, though we should think carefully about why this is the case. Anyone familiar with past and current history knows that the reason is not, regrettably, the scale of the crimes; rather the choice of innocent victims. What the consequences will depend substantially on how the rich and powerful interpret this dramatic demonstration that they are no longer immune from atrocities of the kind they routinely inflict upon others, and how they chose to react.1
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Faculty of Humanities, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK

Publication date: 2006-07-01

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