We are inclined to see terrorist attacks as an aberration, a violent incursion into our lives that bears no intrinsic relation to the fundamental features of modern societies. But does this view misconstrue the relation between terror and modernity?
In this book philosopher Donatella Di Cesare takes an historical approach and argues that terror is not a new phenomenon, but rather one has always been a key part of modernity. Discussion of ideological wars between Islamic fundamentalism and Western ideals or the portrayal of terrorists as nihilists distracts from the fact that, at its most basic level, terrorism is about the struggle for power and sovereignty. The growing concentration of power in the hands of the state, which is a constitutive feature of modern societies, sows the seeds of terrorism, which is deployed as a weapon by those who are exposed to the violence of the state and feel that they have no other recourse.
Illustrating her argument with wide-ranging examples including the Red Brigades, 9/11, the attacks in Paris, the rise of ISIS and the case of Edward Snowden, Di Cesare provides a sophisticated analysis of modern terrorism. This work will appeal to anyone wishing to understand contemporary terrorism more deeply, as well as students and scholars of philosophy and political theory.