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Interview with Jeanine de Roy van Zuijdewijn about the Masterclass Terrorism 2018

Jeanine de Roy van Zuijdewijn teaches the masterclass terrorism 2018 together with Edwin Bakker. Read the interview here.

When did your interest in terrorism began? And what is it about terrorism that you find interesting?

My interest in this phenomenon was mainly sparked during my studies in the field of International Relations. Usually, states and the behaviour of states are studied but there is little interest in what so-called “non-state actors” do. I found it fascinating to study why those non-state actors take up arms, for instance by way of terrorist attacks. When I started to delve deeper into this topic , I wanted to better understand how the psychological and communicative elements of terrorism work: to use fear and violence as means to deliver a message, and what kind of responses that elicits. I think we can only truly counter terrorism if we understand how these elements work.

You are researching the impact of terrorism on society. Are there any notable misunderstandings for these areas?

Generally speaking, little attention is paid to reactions to terrorism and the impact it has. Usually, after an attack has taken place we will see extensive portraits of terrorists and their “career paths”, or the effectiveness of freshly proposed measures such as concrete barriers at crowded places. Less frequently you see critical reflections on the reactions of society and politics. The fact that societies and citizens themselves play an important role when it comes to determining the actual impact terrorism has (e.g. by way of an overreaction, or stressing the importance of resilience) is rarely clarified.

Will the impact of terrorism on society be addressed in the Masterclass?

Certainly, during the 3rd lecture we will specifically look into this. We will discuss cases such as the terrorist attack in Nice but we will also ask practitioners to reflect upon their role.

Who is the Masterclass meant for and why do people need to sign up?

This Masterclass is meant for everybody (who understands Dutch) who reads and hears about terrorism a lot, but who is wondering what the essence of this phenomenon really is, and if it is correct what you usually hear about it in the media. As researchers and lecturers at Leiden University, we try to offer academic insights and nuance, but we will also specifically focus on translating academic knowledge to practice. Therefore, this Masterclass is also particularly interesting for those who are confronted with security issues in their daily work.