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Democratic Pieces: Democratization and the Origins of Terrorism


Why are terrorist groups more prevalent in democracies than in nondemocracies?  Why do individuals and groups resort to terrorist violence rather than using legal channels through which to express their grievances? Two different theoretical arguments in the literature argue different interactions between democracy and terrorism. One theoretical perspective argues that democracy will reduce terrorism as a phenomenon because democracies offer avenues for interest articulation among citizens and endorse nonviolent resolutions of conflicts. Because of the increased ability to express grievances, individuals and groups will pursue nonviolent alternatives to terrorism.

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Chenoweth, Erica. 2010. "Democratic Pieces: Democratization and the Origins of Terrorism." In Coping with Contemporary Terrorism: Origins, Escalation, and Response, eds. Rafael Reuveny and William R. Thompson. Buffalo, NY: SUNY Press, 97-126. https://muse.jhu.edu/book/544

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