Multiple scholars have debated if and to what degree terrorist actors of the “fourth wave” constitute a “new terrorism.” While authors have focused on a variety of characteristics as defining new terrorism, many focus on the nature of the goals, tactics, and organizational forms prevalent in terrorist groups—and most especially jihadist groups—at the end of the twentieth and beginning of the twenty-first centuries.
Critics of the “new terrorism” concept argue that emphasis on potential novelty elides the degree to which there is continuity in how terrorist actors believe and behave. Many (and perhaps even the majority of) terrorist groups and actors do not necessarily differ from those of previous waves identified by Rapoport; in fact, a not insignificant number of actors and movements have persisted across waves.
Pate, Amy. 2019. "The Challenges of Terrorism in a Globalized World." In The New World Disorder: Challenges and Threats in an Uncertain World, eds. J. L. Black, Michael Johns, and Alanda D. Theriault. London: Lexington Books, 189-206. https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781498576376/The-New-World-Disorder-Challenges-and-Threats-in-an-Uncertain-World