In counter-terrorism research, academics do their best to close gaps in research and to identify new trends. Current necessities thus appear to be addressed quite well.
What is sometimes neglected, however, is to re-address (and redress) past assumptions and set findings of classical studies, on the one hand, towards findings which reflect the current state of affairs, on the other.
Comparisons on the time axis are not necessarily easy to do. Longitudinal research, for instance, depends on similarity, and, thus, comparability of data, of underlying conditions and of specificities. Data hence necessitates interpretation – in a contextualized, thorough, and objective manner – valuing the fact that we often know more in hindsight than ex ante.
There is a second issue: the dependence of political frames of reference not only to ongoing developments regarding the given threat horizons, but also to further-reaching political, societal, and scientific trends. Thirdly, not all local, regional, national, and supranational conditions can be compared.
In any case, it would be welcome and valuable to see more studies setting the past alongside the presence. Especially where topics are of current relevance.
Thorsten Koch, MA, PgDip
08 December 2020