Silvia D’Amato


Silvia D’Amato


Short Personal Bio:

Silvia graduated in International Studies at the Department of Political Science of the University of Florence in 2010. Then, she moved to Brussels for an Internship at the Association Européenne pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme (AEDH). In 2013 Silvia received a M.A. in International and Diplomatic Sciences from the University of Bologna (Forli Campus) with a final dissertation titled “Rethinking the Causes of Civil Wars in relation to identity: the case of Ivory Coast”. She also spent her M.A. second year as exchange student in Sciences-Po Paris (M.A. Program in International Security). Since January 2014, she is a Ph.D. Student in Political Science at the Scuola Normale Superiore – Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences in Florence. Her research interests concern International Relations, Political Violence, Civil Wars, Transnational Terrorism and Counterterrorism strategies.


Supervisor: Professor Sonia Lucarelli (University of Bologna)


Thesis Provisional Title and research project:

National Security and Transnational Islamist Terrorism: Understanding European Security Responses.

This research originates from the desire to shed light on how the state securizes itself from transnational Islamist terrorism that menaces its political existence in different ways. The research questions (RQs) guiding this research are as follows:

What are the core factors constituting counter-terrorism responses towards Islamist terrorism in Europe? What was the dominant narrative associated to the formulation of counterterrorism strategies domestically and internationally?

I intend to study the rise of insecurities generated by terrorist activities in three European states: Italy, France and Great Britain. By employing a case study design, the core purpose is to provide a relatively detailed and contextual analysis of anti-terrorism policy reactions in these three European cases. Thus, the aim is not to merely account for the variance in policy outcome. I will rather investigate the multiple forms of the phenomenon of the social construction of the response in different cases.

Through Process Tracing (PT), I intend to retrace the constitutive process that has made a certain security response possible. Considering the response as a complex interplay between dominant narrative and policy outcome, I aim at reconstructing the patterns of states legal/institutional reaction and operative reactions in their relationship with dominant narratives concerning “Islamist” terrorism. By analyzing the narrative-policy relationship by means of PT, I intend to retrace the role of three factors in forging states responses both at the domestic and international level: national historical heritage, strategic culture and international alliances.