Seven Elements of Terrorism

1)Violence – the act causes significant physical or psychological harm

2)Fear – creation of a sense of anxiety that depends on the credible threat of possible future actions

3)Broader Audience – generates fear in more than just the immediate target of the act

4)Purposive – mindful of goals, actions, & the effect of actions on target areas (it’s not accidental)

5)Political Power – concerned with achieving or changing power; often aims to influence elites who control structures or institutions

6)Perpetrated against noncombatants – committed against people who are not considered combatants, often civilians

7)Instrumental – part of a larger struggle & is meant to achieve something beyond the direct result of the act

Adapted from Dr. Laura Donohue, Stanford University, 2002
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