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 relationship between terror and modernity?
In this book, philosopher Donatella Di Cesare takes a historical approach and argues that terror is not a new phenomenon, but rather one that has always been a key part of modernity. 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.
As Di Cesare illustrates her argument with examples ranging from the Red Brigades and 9/11 to jihadism and ISIS, her sophisticated analysis will appeal to anyone who wishes to understand contemporary terrorism more deeply, as well as to students and scholars of philosophy and political theory.