Women defining terrorism: ethnonationalist, state, and machista terrorism

Candice D. Ortbals, Lori Poloni-Staudinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


This article explores definitions of terrorism according to various women in the Basque regions of Spain and France. We ask how women in social movements and government institutions define terrorism, how terrorism influences them, and whether they are viewed as victims of violence and/or as political agents who challenge terrorism. We discuss three definitions of terrorism: ethnonationalist terrorism of ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna), state terrorism against ETA operatives and supporters, and terrorismo machista (or intimate terrorism seen as gender violence). The article uncovers multiple women’s lived experiences related to terrorism, and by problematising agency and definitions of terrorism, it challenges the binary in international relations of women as either victims or violent perpetrators of terrorism and it establishes terrorismo machista as political violence closely related to other forms of political violence. We conclude that women are important political agents regarding multiple types of terrorism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)336-356
Number of pages21
JournalCritical Studies on Terrorism
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2 2014


  • Basque Country
  • ethnonationalist terrorism
  • gender
  • machista terrorism
  • state terrorism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations


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