The political and social impact of terrorist attacks in France

Capture the consequences of terrorist attacks in France

Since 11 September 2001, and more particularly since the recent attacks in France, terrorism has become a major issue of debate in both the public and the scientific arenas. Research on terrorist groups and on the radicalization process is abundant, but little work has been done on the impact of terrorist attacks on the societies affected. In June 2017, the Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme initiate a research project of the consequences of the recent terrorist attacks in France.

  • How does terrorism change public policies and even the nature of government?
  • Have the recent attacks led to the adoption of policies that restrict freedoms, and to their acceptance by the population?
  • How does terrorism distort the social relationships between groups and between individuals?
  • To what extent is public opinion influenced by the processes of determining responsibility, identifyingthe enemy and implementing a state of emergency?
  • How can such events strengthen Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and the far right, and at the same time contribute to the emergence of new forms of solidarity?


The study seeks to understand how terrorist attacks influence social behaviour, practices and relationships. It reconstitutes their impact on governmental action – policy-making, implementation and reception. It also examines the temporal dimension, scale and scope of this impact and how it varies with the social and geographical context.


  • In-depth review of the local and national press
  • Multi-site ethnographic survey: Marseille, Nice, Paris, Strasbourg
  • 50 in-depth interviews with a wide variety of stakeholders
  • Theoretical approaches


In December 2018, the FMSH will submit a report for the attention of policy-makers, NGOs and civil society leaders, in both French and English.


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Mis à jour le
07 September 2017