13th March 2011: PhD Relevant Hypotheses

Drafted 5th March 2011.

Relevant Hypotheses

1. Counterterrorism Studies

1a. Eventisation (Stampnitzky 2008): Counterterrorism Studies knowledge evolves in a Lakatosian reaction to terrorist attacks as events, such as the Munich 1972 Olympics and Al Qaeda’s attacks on the United States on 11th September 2001. This knowledge may be descriptive, analytical or conjectural, such as speculation about non-state actor acquisition of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) weapons.

1b. Contestation (Stampnitzky 2008): Counterterrorism Studies has contestation over accreditation mechanisms in the sub-field, which exists as a government-dominated monopsony (where one buyer controls the market). The majority of knowledge is created by a small, academic core and by idea entrepreneurs who are affiliated with think-tanks and other institutes. Others such as journalists, subject matter experts or self-appointed ‘terrorism experts’ may have a role in the sub-field’s debates.

1c. Sub-field Crises (Betts 1997; Bull 1968): The legitimation crises that Counterterrorism Studies currently faces are similar to those faced by Strategic Studies during the Vietnam War and after the Cold War’s end.

1d. Policy Cultures (Clarke 2003; Naftali 2006; Zegart 2007): Administration, intelligence, military and national security cultures shape how the United States government anticipates and responds to terrorist events. These cultures act as a filter on how research from academia, journalists and think-tanks are disseminated and used.

1e. Terrorism Industry (Herman and Chomsky 1988; Herman and O’Sullivan 1989; Mueller 2006): Counterterrorism exists as a government-controlled monopsony and an institutional network of academic researchers, idea and risk entrepreneurs, media outlets and think-tanks. This institutional network shapes the definitions of terrorism, who are designated as terrorist organizations, the scope and priorities of counterterrorism policy, and the domestic bases of grand strategy.

1f. Self-Fulfilling Prophecy (Zulaika 2009; Curtis 2003): The Counterterrorism sub-field constructs terrorism through interpretation of events and worldviews. This involves an interlocking process of counterterrorist doctrines which enables the transformative conditions for ‘terrorist subjectivities’ to occur. Alternatively, it may be due to ‘mirror-imaging’ and the dialectical action between terrorist and counterterrorist, who are each acting on particular values and worldviews.

2. Strategic Culture

2a. Strategic Enculturation (Gray 1999): All strategists are ‘encultured’: as conceptualisers and decision-makers they are influenced by cultural patterns of assumptions which may be independent of immediate, situational constraints.

2b. Three Generations (Johnston 1995: 5): Theorists who examined strategic culture fall into three generations: (i) early 1980s security specialists and Sovietologists; (ii) Gramscian security specialists and institutional studies; and (iii) empirical, falsifiable theorists and constructivists.

2c. Reciprocity of War (Porter 2009): Combat experience forces adversaries to re-examine their strategic cultures, to improvise and to adapt to new conditions, and to compress learning into smaller timeframes than the longer timeframes which existing theories suggest are needed.

3. Project Hypotheses

Some of the initial, specific hypotheses and postulates that the project will explore and test:

3a. Nation-State Emulation: Strategic culture theories may be applied to non-state actors who seek to emulate nation-states. The selection criteria may include: (i) longitudinal survival of a group, organisation or campaign; (ii) conceptualisation of a grand strategy in available doctrines and propaganda; (iii) direct emulation of nation-state functions and/or ‘institutional capture’ as part of a political party process; and (iv) pursuit of a strategic agenda that requires significant resources, such as CBRN acquisition.

3b. ‘Borrowed’ Culture: Individual terrorists and terrorist groups may use aspects of a strategic culture that is ‘borrowed’ or ‘mirrored’ from another source. For instance, these may be practices developed by particular institutional cultures: civilian academic, war college, journalist or military. Bergen (2001: 139-145) notes that Al Qaeda operative Ali Mohamed took Special Forces training at Fort Bragg’s JFK Special Warfare Center. This may also be applied to civilian artistic movements which adopt ‘terrorist chic’ (Selzer 1979) for antinomian, shock value.

3c. Journalist Boundary-Spanners: Contrary to Stampnitzky (2008), investigative journalists working for ‘quality media’ outlets may contribute original research that contributes to the Counterterrorism Studies knowledge base. They may also gain direct access to terrorist groups and can thus provide the public with information not accessible from other sources, such as Murakami’s (2001) interviews of Aum Shinrikyo and its victims. This information may also be retrospective, such as Gibson’s (1994) study of paramilitary groups at the time Timothy McVeigh planned the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

3d. ‘Encounter’ Narratives: Counterterrorism analysts and scholars may revise their knowledge through direct, anthropological ‘encounters’ with terrorists. For instance, Harvard’s Jessica Stern experienced ‘cognitive dissonance’ during early interviews with Kerry Noble of the Covenant, Sword and Arm of the Lord and had to revise her ‘theories-in-use’ despite extensive knowledge of nuclear proliferation and smuggling activities (Stern 2003: xiii-xviii).

3e. Integrative Strategic Cultures: Terrorist individuals, groups and organizations are often analysed in isolation from other sociopolitical phenomena. However, terrorist actions, choices and preferences may, in some cases, only make sense when integrated with the dimensions and perspectives of other strategic cultures.

3f. The Prospective Fallacy: Attempts to forecast the plausible and probable future(s) of terrorism will more likely place greater weight on immediate past and near-term threats than on what actually will emerge. For example, the forecasts in Kushner (1997) emphasised United States paramilitary and domestic militia groups rather than Al Qaeda.

3g. The ‘Profiling At A Distance’ Fallacy. Some analysts have attempted to use strategic culture to ‘profile’ adversaries. They are inspired by a political psychology tradition which includes Langer’s (1972) war-time study of Adolf Hitler and Jerrold M. Post’s (2005) anthology on leadership profiling. However, ‘profiling at a distance’ introduces greater potential for interpretative error. Gray (1999) and Porter (2009) remind us that adversaries are ‘encultured’ and can also learn from events and experiences.

Relevant Hypotheses

1. Counterterrorism Studies

1a. Eventisation (Stampnitzky 2008): Counterterrorism Studies knowledge evolves in a Lakatosian reaction to terrorist attacks as events, such as the Munich 1972 Olympics and Al Qaeda’s attacks on the United States on 11th September 2001. This knowledge may be descriptive, analytical or conjectural, such as speculation about non-state actor acquisition of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) weapons.

1b. Contestation (Stampnitzky 2008): Counterterrorism Studies has contestation over accreditation mechanisms in the sub-field, which exists as a government-dominated monopsony (where one buyer controls the market). The majority of knowledge is created by a small, academic core and by idea entrepreneurs who are affiliated with think-tanks and other institutes. Others such as journalists, subject matter experts or self-appointed ‘terrorism experts’ may have a role in the sub-field’s debates.

1c. Sub-field Crises (Betts 1997; Bull 1968): The legitimation crises that Counterterrorism Studies currently faces are similar to those faced by Strategic Studies during the Vietnam War and after the Cold War’s end.

1d. Policy Cultures (Clarke 2003; Naftali 2006; Zegart 2007): Administration, intelligence, military and national security cultures shape how the United States government anticipates and responds to terrorist events. These cultures act as a filter on how research from academia, journalists and think-tanks are disseminated and used.

1e. Terrorism Industry (Herman and Chomsky 1988; Herman and O’Sullivan 1989; Mueller 2006): Counterterrorism exists as a government-controlled monopsony and an institutional network of academic researchers, idea and risk entrepreneurs, media outlets and think-tanks. This institutional network shapes the definitions of terrorism, who are designated as terrorist organizations, the scope and priorities of counterterrorism policy, and the domestic bases of grand strategy.

1f. Self-Fulfilling Prophecy (Zulaika 2009; Curtis 2003): The Counterterrorism sub-field constructs terrorism through interpretation of events and worldviews. This involves an interlocking process of counterterrorist doctrines which enables the transformative conditions for

‘terrorist subjectivities’ to occur. Alternatively, it may be due to ‘mirror-imaging’ and the dialectical action between terrorist and counterterrorist, who are each acting on particular values and worldviews.

2. Strategic Culture

2a. Strategic Enculturation (Gray 1999): All strategists are ‘encultured’: as conceptualisers and decision-makers they are influenced by cultural patterns of assumptions which may be independent of immediate, situational constraints.

2b. Three Generations (Johnston 1995: 5): Theorists who examined strategic culture fall into three generations: (i) early 1980s security specialists and Sovietologists; (ii) Gramscian security specialists and institutional studies; and (iii) empirical, falsifiable theorists and constructivists.

2c. Reciprocity of War (Porter 2009): Combat experience forces adversaries to re-examine their strategic cultures, to improvise and to adapt to new conditions, and to compress learning into smaller timeframes than the longer timeframes which existing theories suggest are needed.

3. Project Hypotheses

Some of the initial, specific hypotheses and postulates that the project will explore and test:

3a. Nation-State Emulation: Strategic culture theories may be applied to non-state actors who seek to emulate nation-states. The selection criteria may include: (i) longitudinal survival of a group, organisation or campaign; (ii) conceptualisation of a grand strategy in available doctrines and propaganda; (iii) direct emulation of nation-state functions and/or ‘institutional capture’ as part of a political party process; and (iv) pursuit of a strategic agenda that requires significant resources, such as CBRN acquisition.

3b. ‘Borrowed’ Culture: Individual terrorists and terrorist groups may use aspects of a strategic culture that is ‘borrowed’ or ‘mirrored’ from another source. For instance, these may be practices developed by particular institutional cultures: civilian academic, war college, journalist or military. Bergen (2001: 139-145) notes that Al Qaeda operative Ali Mohamed took Special Forces training at Fort Bragg’s JFK Special Warfare Center. This may also be applied to civilian artistic movements which adopt ‘terrorist chic’ (Selzer 1979) for antinomian, shock value.

3c. Journalist Boundary-Spanners: Contrary to Stampnitzky (2008), investigative journalists working for ‘quality media’ outlets may contribute original research that contributes to the Counterterrorism Studies knowledge base. They may also gain direct access to terrorist groups and can thus provide the public with information not accessible from other sources, such as Murakami’s (2001) interviews of Aum Shinrikyo and its victims. This information may also be retrospective, such as Gibson’s (1994) study of paramilitary groups at the time Timothy McVeigh planned the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

3d. ‘Encounter’ Narratives: Counterterrorism analysts and scholars may revise their knowledge through direct, anthropological ‘encounters’ with terrorists. For instance, Harvard’s Jessica Stern experienced ‘cognitive dissonance’ during early interviews with Kerry Noble of the Covenant, Sword and Arm of the Lord and had to revise her ‘theories-in-use’ despite extensive knowledge of nuclear proliferation and smuggling activities (Stern 2003: xiii-xviii).

3e. Integrative Strategic Cultures: Terrorist individuals, groups and organizations are often analysed in isolation from other sociopolitical phenomena. However, terrorist actions, choices and preferences may, in some cases, only make sense when integrated with the dimensions and perspectives of other strategic cultures.

3f. The Prospective Fallacy: Attempts to forecast the plausible and probable future(s) of terrorism will more likely place greater weight on immediate past and near-term threats than on what actually will emerge. For example, the forecasts in Kushner (1997) emphasised United States paramilitary and domestic militia groups rather than Al Qaeda.

3g. The ‘Profiling At A Distance’ Fallacy. Some analysts have attempted to use strategic culture to ‘profile’ adversaries. They are inspired by a political psychology tradition which includes Langer’s (1972) war-time study of Adolf Hitler and Jerrold M. Post’s (2005) anthology on leadership profiling. However, ‘profiling at a distance’ introduces greater potential for interpretative error. Gray (1999) and Porter (2009) remind us that adversaries are ‘encultured’ and can also learn from events and experiences.