Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POL3257: Understanding Terrorism and Counterterrorism

This module descriptor refers to the 2022/3 academic year.


NQF Level 6
Credits 30 ECTS Value 15
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 1 (11 weeks) and term 2 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Dr Weeda Mehran (Convenor)





Available via distance learning


This is a third-year module on terrorism as a form of political violence. The first part of the module studies political, sociological and psychological theories on political violence and why terrorism constitutes a particular form of political violence. It will introduce you to a wide range of complex historical, political and social factors that have contributed to the articulation of terrorist practices. The second part of the module analyses radicalisation. It explores role of the media in radicalisation and terrorism. The focus of this section will be on the internet and social media platforms (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, and Telegram) while topics such as gamification will also be discussed. Through case studies (e.g. ISIS, Al Qaeda, Taliban, LeT), you will further deepen your understanding of strategic communication approaches of various terrorist groups. The third part focuses on disengagement, reintegration and reconciliation of violent extremists. It discusses counter terrorist strategies and prevention mechanisms, their effectiveness and shortcomings. Particular focus will be on the role of community involvement and new technologies. The module does not have any pre-requisites or co-requisite modules. This module is recommended for interdisciplinary pathways and is suitable for any third-year students in social and political sciences.

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