Transformations of contemporary terrorism in view of legal, economic and sociocultural issues

Economic Annals-ХХI: Volume 187, Issue 1-2, Pages: 36-50

Citation information:
Marchenko, O., Sydorova, E., Shuba, V., & Rodina, Yu. (2021). Transformations of contemporary terrorism in view of legal, economic and sociocultural issues. Economic Annals-XXI, 187(1-2), 36-50. doi:

Olena Marchenko
D.Sc. (Philosophy),
Professor of the Department of Pedagogy and Psychology,
Prydniprovsk State Academy of Physical Culture and Sports
10 Victory Embankment Str., Dnipro, 49094, Ukraine

Elvira Sydorova
PhD (Law),
Deputy Dean,
Faculty of Training Specialists for Strategic Investigations Units,
Dnipropetrovsk State University of Internal Affairs
26 Gagarin Ave., Dnipro, 49005, Ukraine

Vyktoryia Shuba
PhD (Pedagogy),
Associate Professor,
Department of Pedagogy and Psychology,
Prydniprovsk State Academy of Physical Culture and Sports
10 Victory Embankment Str., Dnipro, 49094, Ukraine

Yuliia Rodina
PhD (Physical Education and Sports),
Associate Professor of the Department of Pedagogy and Psychology,
Prydniprovsk State Academy of Physical Culture and Sports
10 Victory Embankment Str., Dnipro, 49094, Ukraine

Abstract. The paper presents an analysis of network terrorism in its retrospective and within the practices of contemporary transformations. The risks of expansion of terrorist movements into the territory of particular states with their subsequent legitimization have been identified with regard to social consciousness, law and economy.

Within the network structure of the contemporary international terrorism, which formed continuous mutations, the so-called «terrorist clusters» have taken shape, with the Middle Eastern, the North African and others among them. Centrally-managed terrorist organizations of the past were succeeded by transnational structures within the framework of a consolidated ideological, political and religious trend of conducting terrorist attacks in any part of the world. Namely, the segmented, polycentric, ideologically integrated network is currently the most prevalent and dangerous model of international terrorism while the networking principle of organization of terrorist activity remains the most effective in asymmetric confrontation with the adversaries.

The transformation of terrorism in the 21st century is presented within 3 perspectives of the social being – law, economy and morals. For instance, an approach to legal treatment of manifestations of terrorism has changed dramatically. In the international law there has occurred a definitive extrapolation of the notion of crime against humanity, mainstreamed by the Nuremberg trials, to terrorist activities. Regardless of under which guise and for which purposes these crimes are being committed, they have acquired an explicit denomination as an absolute evil that implies no justification or extenuating circumstances. This standpoint is expressed in numerous international documents including the United Nations Security Council resolutions and international conventions, not to mention various national-level documents. At the same time, the severity of counterterrorism laws and international legal norms adopted by different states is often disrupted due to their inconsistency that complicates considerably the counter-terrorist activity at all levels.

The sociocultural aspect of the transformation of terrorism is being investigated in the context of the confrontation between two world views – the western and the eastern (Islamic). For radical adherents of the latter the glorification of terrorists is common, by justifying them as warriors in quest for the «purity of faith». Radicalization is occurring in hybrid living environments that include the elements of both online and offline human experience. This antagonism is currently transforming from its mentality from into the instrumental form increasingly acquiring an artificial, hybrid nature.

Studies of «mutations» of terrorism with regard to economic issues have focused upon such factors of the neoliberal globalization as social injustice, urbanization and revival of colonial traditions. In recent decades the world has faced a new threat: use of counter-terrorism to justify transnational interventions into underdeveloped and unstable countries. In this way, there occurs a process of disguising the novel practices of colonization which in fact constitute the state terrorism. The scope and the forms of state terrorism vary from political and economic pressure upon the weakest of state entities to explicit use of armed violence. Within the legal environment it has become common to employ the practices of countries charging members its own population with terrorism as a tool for destabilizing the undesirable political movements as well as escalating sectarian and ethnic confrontations for the purpose of economic gains.

The authors have investigated the novel trends in the financing of terrorism, particularly within the context of challenges of the post-pandemic world and have substantiated a complex approach to combating this evil suggesting its foundation to consist not in the force counteraction as is presently common, but in solving moral, socio-economic and legal contradictions within societies which may potentially become hotbeds of the terrorist threat.

Keywords: Network Terrorism; Financing of Terrorism; Islamic State; Al-Qaeda

JEL Сlassification: F36; F52; F54; K42; N47

Acknowledgements and Funding: The authors received no direct funding for this research.

Contribution: Each author contributed equally to the research.



  1. Arquilla, J., & Ronfeldt, D. (1996). The Advent Of Netwar. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation.
  2. Beadle, S. (2017). How does the Internet facilitate radicalization? War Studies Department, King’s College London.
  3. Bjørgo, T., & Ravndal, J. A. (2019). Extreme-Right Violence and Terrosim: Concepts, Patterns and Responses. ICCT Policy Brief, September, 1-22.
  4. Bouchard, М. (2017). Social Networks, Terrorism and Counter-terrorism. Radical and Connected. Routledge.
  5. Dave, A. (2019, August 13).Transnational Lessons from Terrorist Use of Social Media in South Asia. Global Research Network on Terrorism and Technology, 13, 1-16.
  6. FATF. (2020). COVID-19-related Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing – Risks and Policy Responses. FATF, Paris, France.
  7. FATF. (2012). FATF international standards on combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism and proliferation. The FATF recommendations. As amended October 2020.
  8. Gofas, A. (2012). Old’ vs. «New» Terrorism: What’s in a Name? Uluslararası İlişkiler International Relations, 8(32), 17-32.
  9. Gunaratna, R. (2017). Strategic Counter-Terrorism: A Game Changer in Fighting Terrorism? Counter Terrorist Trends and Analyses, 9(6), 1-5.
  10. Jackson, P. (2020). Transnational Neo-Nazism in the USA, United Kingdom and Australia. Program on Extremism, George Washington University.
  11. Koehler, D. (2019). The Halle, Germany, Synagogue Attack and the Evolution of the Far-Right Terrorist Threat. CTC Sentinel, 12(11), 14-20.
  12. Londras, F., & Doody, J. (2015). The Impact, Legitimacy and Effectiveness of EU Counter-Terrorism. New York: Routledge.
  13. Mullins, S. (2020, June 25). Terrorism and COVID-19: Are We Over-Estimating the Threat? Small Wars Journal.
  14. Miller, G. (2019). Blurred Lines: The New «Domestic» Terrorism. Perspectives on Terrorism, 13(3), 63-75.
  15. Pašagić, A. (2020). Failed States and Terrorism. Perspectives on Terrorism, 14(3), 19-28.
  16. Rădulescu, B. G. (2020). The «Electronic Jihad» – How Social Media are Used for Disseminating Terrorist Propaganda. Me.Dok Journal, 3, 89-98.
  17. Sageman, М. (2004). Understanding Terror Networks. University of Pennsylvania Press.
  18. Sageman, M. (2008). Leaderless Jihad Terror Networks in the Twenty-First Century. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
  19. San-Akca, B. (2016). States in Disguise: Causes of State Support for Rebel Groups. New York: Oxford University Press.
  20. Spadaro, P. (2020). Climate Change, Environmental Terrorism, Eco-Terrorism and Emerging Threats. Journal of Strategic Security, 13(4), 58-80.
  21. Thrall, A., & Goepner, E. (2017). Step back: lessons for US foreign policy from the failed war on terror. Policy Analysis, 814, 1-28.
  22. United Nations. (2017). Resolution adopted by the General Assembly 71/291. Strengthening the capability of the United Nations system to assist Member States in implementing the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
  23. United Nations. (2001). Security Council resolution 1373 (2001) on Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.
  24. Valentini, D., Lorusso, A. M., & Stephan, A. (2020, March 24). Onlife Extremism: Dynamic Integration of Digital and Physical Spaces in Radicalization. Frontiers in Psychology.
  25. Vidino, L., Lewis, J., & Mines, A. (2020). Dollars for Daesh: The Small Financial Footprint of the Islamic State’s American Supporters. CTC Sentinel, 13(3), 24-29.
  26. Warner, J., O’Farrell, R., Nsaibia, H., & Cummings, R. (2020). Outlasting the Caliphate: The Evolution of the Islamic State Threat in Africa. CTC Sentinel, 13(11), 18-33.
  27. Wojciechowski, S. (2017). Reasons of Contemporary Terrorism. An Analysis of Main Determinants. In A. Sroka, F. Garrone, & R. Kumbrián (Eds.), Radicalism and Terrorism in the 21st Century: Implications for Security (pp. 49-70). Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang AG.
  28. Wright, J. (2019). State terrorism: Are academics deliberately ignoring it? Journal of Global Faultlines, 6(2), 204-214.
  29. Zucchi, K. (2020, October 15). What Countries Spend on Antiterrorism.

Received 18.11.2020
Received in revised form 10.12.2020
Accepted 21.12.2020
Available online 28.02.2021