Critical Perspectives on Terrorism (L4110B)

30 credits, Level 6

Spring teaching

This module will take an interdisciplinary approach to investigate the sociology of terrorism. To achieve this, the module draws on a variety of critical sociology, criminology and social psychology theories, interspersed with empirical evidence. 

We will begin by discussing and debating the definitions of certain key terms, such as terrorism, extremism, and violent extremism. This provides you with a platform to engage with the module's core arguments and enables you to develop an appreciation of the implications for policy and practice.

Some of the core topics of the module will include:

  • exploring how and why some people become interested in ideologies and/or groups considered to be extreme
  • the value of culture, subculture, and masculinity within extreme movements
  • how group bonds and influence facilitates deeper commitment to groups
  • how complex methods of persuasion and wrap around social control enables the potential for the mortification and reconstruction of people's perceptions of self and social identity
  • how through processes of conversion, some people go on to change their worldviews and begin to internalise extremist ideologies.

In addition, the sociology of violence will also be covered. The module will conclude by bringing together the various political, religious, social, cultural, and subcultural arguments. We use them to look at the political environment of counter-terrorism, with a specific focus on policy influence, construction and implications.


100%: Seminar


100%: Coursework (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 33 hours of contact time and about 267 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2024/25. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: