NELSON INSTITUTE DIRECTOR CRITIQUES TERRORISM ENCYCLOPEDIA

March 16, 2007

HARRISONBURG—In a review published in the current issue of the International Criminal Justice Review, Dr. J. Peter Pham, Director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University, critiques the Encyclopedia of Modern Worldwide Extremists and Extremist Groups by Stephen E. Atkins of Texas A & M University.

While acknowledging that “each of the 285 entries, which vary in length between 200 and 2,000 words, contains useful cross-references and is followed by suggested readings that the interested researcher can pursue, presumably to some advantage,” Dr. Pham notes that “the criteria used by the author in determining what to include…is not, however, readily apparent.” Furthermore, according to the review, Atkins “neither proposes a definition [of extremism and terrorism] nor discusses the relative merits of the ones offered” by governments or academics. Thus, “although readers will find individual entries—many of which are commendably researched and presented—within the Encyclopedia of Modern Worldwide Extremists and Extremist Groups useful, the work as a whole lacks the methodological rigor, perspective, and balance that are required if it is to live up to the promise of its title.”

The International Criminal Justice Review is a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal dedicated to presenting system-wide trends and problems on crime and justice throughout the world. Established in 1991, it is published quarterly by Sage Publications in association with Georgia State University.

For the text of the review, click here.