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Chasing PhantomsReality, Imagination, and Homeland Security Since 9/11$
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Michael Barkun

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807834701

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807877692_barkun

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Disaster and Terrorism

Disaster and Terrorism

(p.19) Two Disaster and Terrorism
Chasing Phantoms

Michael Barkun

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter argues that the fear of terrorist attack must be read against the backdrop of the larger class of human disasters because they constitute merely one example, albeit a particularly terrifying example, of a mass-casualty event. Disasters themselves make up a broad swath of disturbances capable of destabilizing and even destroying human communities, sometimes through natural forces against which there are no adequate defenses, sometimes because human actions have set destructive forces loose. Although terrorism is commonly viewed through the lenses of politics or military tactics, we view it here under the aspect of disaster. An additional reason for doing so, beyond the sheer mayhem such attacks may cause, is the special anxiety we feel in the presence of unseen dangers.

Keywords:   terrorist attack, human disasters, mass-casualty event, natural forces, human actions

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