Working Paper #2 on terrorist violence is out

In their contribution to the “Dissidenz” Working Paper Series titled “Reflections of Rule in Resistance. A Relational Typology of Terrorist Violence”, Janusz Biene, Daniel Kaiser and Holger Marcks ask under what conditions violent dissidence can mobilize social support.

Particularly in the case of terrorist violence, a form of resistance generally deemed to be disreputable, this may be hardly comprehensible. Indeed, common concepts in terrorism research, as the effectiveness or success of terrorist actors, are incapable of adequately answering this question. On the one hand, effects of terrorism can be comprehensive and nevertheless detrimental to the influence of the group. On the other hand, success is usually measured by the achievement of political ends, even though terrorism serves foremost as a strategic way to gain influence. Therefore, the authors put forward the concept of “political influence” (politische Wirkungsmacht), which allows us to take into account the relativity of power and to investigate whether actors are able to mobilize resources in order to promote their cause. This necessitates to adopt a relational perspective, thus, considering the interplay of dissident actor, opponent and the group to be mobilized.

You can download the paper, together with other contributions from this new working paper series, from