Societal Responses to Terrorist Attacks

Posted: 4 Jun 2010

See all articles by Seymour Spilerman

Seymour Spilerman

Columbia University

Guy Stecklov

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Social Sciences

Date Written: August 2009


Terrorist attacks in the United States and in Western Europe have been rare, and public awareness of the terrorist menace has largely been molded by a few horrific events. In contrast, other countries have experienced chronic terrorism, with attacks on buses, restaurants, coffee shops, and retail establishments. In this review, we assess the impact of terrorism on civilian society in the United States, Northern Ireland, and Israel. We examine the psychological effects, the adaptations made by individuals to enhance their safety, and the consequent adjustments made by institutional actors and by commercial establishments to ensure continued economic viability. We review the various theories of societal adjustments to exogenous shocks and point out that a very different formulation is required for the case of chronic terrorism than for the societal experience of a one-time attack.

Suggested Citation

Spilerman, Seymour and Stecklov, Guy, Societal Responses to Terrorist Attacks (August 2009). Available at SSRN: or

Seymour Spilerman (Contact Author)

Columbia University ( email )

Dept. of Sociology and Center for the Study of Wea
Knox Hall
New York, NY 10032
United States
(212) 854-4273 (Phone)
(212) 854-2963 (Fax)

Guy Stecklov

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Social Sciences ( email )


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