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Rethinking democracy and terrorism: a quantitative analysis of attitudes to democratic politics and support for terrorism in the UK


Behavioural Sciences of Terrorism and Political AggressionJournal abstract

The relationship between democracy and terrorism remains a source of significant debate, with academic evidence suggesting that democracy both inhibits and encourages acts of terrorism and political violence. Accepting this apparent contradiction, this paper argues that a more nuanced approach to understanding political systems, focussing on the subjective perceptions of individual actors, may allow these differences to be reconciled. Using regression analysis undertaken with UK data from the European Values Study, the results shows how attitudes to politics may frame assessments of the intrinsic valence – or attractiveness – of political participation, support for terrorism, and the implications this may have for both counter-terrorism and counter-extremism policy.

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