International Terrorism and the Clash of Civilizations

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Neumayer, Eric; & Plümper, Thomas (2009) International Terrorism and the Clash of Civilizations , British Journal of Political Science 39(4): 711–734.

Huntington referred to a ‘clash of civilizations’ revealing itself in international terrorism, particularly in the clash between the Islamic civilization and the West. The authors confront his hypotheses with ones derived from the strategic logic of international terrorism. They predict more terrorism against nationals from countries whose governments support the government of the terrorists’ home country. Like Huntington, they also predict excessive terrorism on Western targets, not because of inter-civilizational conflict per se, but because of the strategic value of Western targets. Contra Huntington, their theory does not suggest that Islamic civilization groups commit more terrorist acts against nationals from other civilizations in general, nor a general increase in inter-civilizational terrorism after the Cold War. The empirical analysis – based on estimations in a directed dyadic country sample, 1969–2005 – broadly supports their theory. In particular, there is not significantly more terrorism from the Islamic against other civilizations in general, nor a structural break in the pattern of international terrorism after the Cold War.

Authors

Eric Neumayer

Eric Neumayer

Professor of Environment and Development at London School of Economics

Thomas Plümper

Thomas Plümper

Professor of Government, University of Essex