Interpretations of Terrorism: the First Italian Scientific Debate (1977-1984) - Giovanni Mario Ceci The aim of the essay is to reconstruct the first scientific debate on Italian terrorism which took place in Italy from 1977 to 1984. The author singles out two main trends in this debate. The first, more consistent trend was made up of the analysis of social scientists, which fundamentally aimed at answering the question "why terrorism had exploded in Italy". The author singles out two main groups of hypothesis, under which he collects the most important shared interpretations in this debate. To the first group, concerned with the description of terrorist individuals, the author ascribes: various psychological-psychiatric explanations (terrorism as a phenomenon related to «youth identity», terrorism as «fantasmatic war», terrorism as a «fruit of the equilibrium of terror», terrorism as a «result of radical and extremist behaviour»); a political interpretation of terrorism as an expression of extremism; a sociological interpretation of terrorism (and more in general of violence) as a production of marginal social strata; and, finally, a philosophical explanation of terrorism as expression of «human conditions» repressed in their desiring vitality. To the second group of hypothesis, focused on the "crisis of the system", the author, instead, relates both the interpretation of terrorism as a response to the crisis of traditional values and the explanation of terrorism as a response to (or an outcome of) a stalemated political system. The second, minority trend of the debate was represented by the historiographical analyses, which aimed at elaborating a complex and articulate research on the «historical problem of Italian terrorism».
Keywords: Terrorism, Political violence, Red Brigades, the Seventies in Italy, Italian political system