By Mathias Delori, Clara Egger, Raùl Magni-Berton and Simon Varaine

Many quantitative studies have concluded that military interventionism is a central explanatory factor of terrorism. Yet, this literature is rarely mobilized in the correlate Francophone field of security studies. This blind spot seems to take root in a distrust of the positivist underpinnings of these quantitative studies and their apparent lack of reflexivity, in particular regarding the notion of terrorism. This paper argues that this distrust is partly justified but that it dissipates if one adopts a nominalist definition of “terrorism.” One does not measure, then, the weight of military interventionism on terrorism understood in a realistic fashion – provided that it is possible to grasp terrorism in such a way – but, rather, on the genesis of what the hegemonic discourse calls “terrorism,” namely violent attacks by non-state groups which the same discourse labels as “terrorists.”

Cultures & Conflits 123/124 (3/4), 2021


Online available:

Les interventions militaires sont-elles une cause du “terrorisme” (758.97 KB)