Qui est responsable? Charlie Hebdo, responsibility and terrorism in the West
Thesis DisciplinePolitical Science
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
Responsibility has become a defining way in which the West analyses and discusses terrorism. It informs the way in which we view the perpetrators and the victims, and dominates discussion of what the appropriate response to an attack is. Using the case study of the Charlie Hebdo attack in 2015, I will examine the debates over responsibility following a terror attack in the West. I will break down the various reactions to the Charlie Hebdo attack in order to examine how and why they assigned responsibility as they did. I will analyse the major arguments within each response, drawing out the ways in which they framed social and political issues and how this influenced their contextualising of the Charlie Hebdo attack, terrorism and the assigning of responsibility. This will show the ways in which politics and social issues intersect and how the way in which we assign responsibility can differ depending on our viewpoints of those issues. It also shows that how we define terms like terrorism informs the way in which we assign responsibility, and how this ascription of responsibility informs responses to terrorism at both a social and policy level.