Terrorism in Context: Race, Religion, Party, and Violent Conflict in Zanzibar a BARBARA G. Bm~NTS AND DEO S. MSHIGENI Sociology has had plenty to say about terrorism? We do not have a subfield on the sociology of terrorism, nor should we. Terrorism is a political label, and well intentioned scholarly attempts to define the study of "it" may only reify its political uses and cloud our understanding (Tilly, 2004). We certainly need tools to under- stand the origins, trajectories, and outcomes of political violence and there is plenty of scholarly work on political violence, revolutions, conflict, and social move- ments that can lead us in that direction. In this paper we will draw on a case study of violent political conflict that has been labeled "terrorist" in Zanzibar, an island in the Indian Ocean currently a part of Tanzania. We will examine the political oppor- tunities and social movement organizations as they have framed and mobilized racial and religious conflicts on the island. We use this case to illustrate three points relevant to the study of terrorism that have been argued in the sociological litera- ture on social movements and violent conflict. First, "terrorists" are rational actors; second, terrorism
The American Sociologist – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 29, 2007
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