The perils of terrorism: Chinese whispers, Kevin Bacon, and Al Qaeda in Southeast Asia - A review essay

Graham K Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This review examines the scholarship on Islamic terrorism and Al Qaeda in Southeast Asia, arguing that three factors undermine the academic credibility of much of this scholarship. Two points relate to the extensive reliance on interviews with various anonymous 'security personnel', or media reports of such statements. Firstly, these sources are in themselves problematic in that they cannot be independently checked or verified. In such circumstances, factual errors undermine the credibility of the argument. Secondly, many researchers using these sources appear to take them at face value, without interrogating their reliability and political motives. The third point relates to the way in which different types of source are utilized and, in particular, how tentative allegations are transmuted into established facts. The review concludes that such studies would benefit from greater contextualization within the domestic politics of the countries in question, rather than their current focus on specific individuals, organizations and networks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-162
Number of pages13
JournalIntelligence and National Security
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2006

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Southeast Asia
credibility
terrorism
personnel
politics
interview
Al Qaeda
Chinese Whispers
Terrorism
South-East Asia
Perils
Credibility

Cite this

The perils of terrorism: Chinese whispers, Kevin Bacon, and Al Qaeda in Southeast Asia - A review essay. / Brown, Graham K.

In: Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 21, No. 1, 02.2006, p. 150-162.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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