To Call or Not to Call It Terrorism: Public Debate on Ideologically-motivated Acts of Violence in Finland, 1991–2015

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This article looks at how domestic acts of ideologically-motivated violence have been treated in Finnish public discussion with a particular focus on how the word “terrorism” has and has not been used to characterize such incidents. The work demonstrates that Finnish public debate has, with certain notable exceptions, primarily avoided labelling any violent attacks in the country as terrorism. This reluctance stems from Finnish traditions of crisis management, counterterrorism, and politics. Furthermore, the propensity to use the term “terrorism” cannot be explained by such characteristics of the attack itself as the number of casualties or whether it was perpetrated by ingroup or outgroup members. Rather than “what has happened,” the question of calling or not calling an act terrorism comes down to the question of “what needs to be done.” The article contributes to academic debate by investigating a surprisingly under-researched aspect of how the term terrorism is used in public discussion while also shedding new light on the debate in Finland, a country seldom touched upon by research of terrorism and political violence.
TidskriftTerrorism and Political Violence
Sidor (från-till)862-881
Antal sidor20
StatusPublicerad - 4 juni 2018
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad


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