The Problem of Terrorism in the Public Sphere: Habermas and Derrida


  • Ledian Rusta


This essay seeks to analyze through a comparative approach the current situation regarding the phenomenon of “terrorism” launched by the consequences in the public sphere and in civil liberties. To begin, an analysis and an attempt to determine and define the phenomenon of terrorism is made, within the situation of the conditions of the new politics and moral on a more global level. Conversely, the great complexity of this phenomenon requires the analysis of different perspectives in a more inclusive way. In this context, this study relies on both theoretical and practical approaches to Jurgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida. Support of these two authors in contemporary thought allows us to conduct a fuller and deeper treatment as based on two different perspectives. Habermas seeks initially to conclude that the phenomenon of terrorism in today's time is displayed as a separate phenomenon and a very specific one, given the size that it reaches and the causes that inspire it. He outlines a comparison between Western and Eastern culture, taking into account the specifics of political systems and optics of religion, to discern the differences and the reasons later on. His basic thesis is that terrorism constitutes a threat to freedom in public space and occurs as a result of a blockage or a gap in a communicative situation between two culture or different actors. For this reason, he wants to develop a new ethos of tolerance and a greater apperception of public space to make possible freedom as both a personal concept and public concept. Meanwhile, Derrida's approach walks in the footsteps of postmodernism where he wants to use the deconstructivist method regarding the analysis and the phenomenon of terrorism. From this perspective unfolds the thought that terrorism in today's time is a crisis of autoimmunity that has been produced, somewhat indirectly, by the West. Consequently, another worldview should be used to reappraise and revise the concepts of civil liberties and the concept of territory. Derrida sees the phenomenon of “terrorism” in a systemic form that emanates from the crisis of the Cold War that has been transformed into a new form of the phenomenon of globalization today, outlining somewhat of a threat to freedom as a collective and public concept.

Keywords: terrorism, communication distortion, a symptom of an autoimmune crisis, violence, tolerance.




How to Cite

Rusta, L. (2016). The Problem of Terrorism in the Public Sphere: Habermas and Derrida. ANGLISTICUM. Journal of the Association-Institute for English Language and American Studies, 4(4), 32–36. Retrieved from



Volume 4, No.4, April 2015