El mapa y el territorio: Cuestiones ontológicas y epistemológicas sobre el terrorismo |The Map and the Territory: ontological and epistemological questions about terrorism



El principio de Gregory Bateson de que “el mapa no es el territorio, y el nombre no es la cosa nombrada”* debe ser aplicado al terrorismo al igual que a todo sistema de comunicación humana. Entre el acto terrorista y su nombramiento/escritura se da un proceso de clasificación por el cual la realidad misma del acto queda transformada. El terrorismo actúa como catalizador que confunde categorías semánticas diversas entre lo real y lo fingido en marcos de comportamiento básicos como “guerra”, “amenaza”, “juego”, o “ritual”. La dinámica entre terrorismo y contraterrorismo está inmersa en este juego de confusiones semánticas entre mapa y territorio. La Cosa en sí kantiana de las acciones que se sitúan en el marco “esto es guerra” y “esto es juego” son categóricamente diferentes. La negación y constitución mutua de esta dinámica está en el centro mismo de la realidad del terrorismo. El artículo argumenta que una ontología y epistemología del terrorismo, para que sean válidas, deben tomar en cuenta el principio básico de las relaciones mapa/territorio (para lo cual una teoría del juego y la fantasía puede ser tan relevante como las teorías sobre la guerra); igualmente debe estudiar los aspectos mitológicos de la figura del terrorista basados en parte en la fantasía. Lejos de equiparar la fantasía con lo “no-real”, para la teoría sicoanalítica la fantasía constituye una dimensión básica de la realidad subjetiva. La manipulación del eje del tiempo (esperando el terror futuro, la teoría militar de la prevención) es otra clave importante para estudiar la ontología del terrorismo. Finalmente hay que tener presente la arista entre terrorismo/contraterrorismo como la realidad decisiva que simultáneamente estigmatiza y constituye ambas superficies antagónicas.


The paper argues that the principle that “the map is not the territory, and the name is not the thing named”*, essential to any system of human communication, must be applied to terrorism as well. In between the terrorist act and its naming/writing there is a process of classification by which reality itself is transformed. Terrorism acts as a catalyst to confuse various semantic categories between the factual and the feigned, the real and the bluff, in basic performance frames such as “war,” “threat,” “play,” or “ritual.” The dialectics between terrorism and counterterrorism is plagued with such confusions between map and territory. The Thing itself of the events situated in the frame “this is war” and “this is play” are categorically different. The mutual denial and mutual constitution of such dialectics is at the center of the reality of terrorism. It is argued that a valid ontology and epistemology of terrorism must take into account the basic principle of the map/territory relations (for which a theory of play and fantasy might be as relevant as theories of war); furthermore, it must analyze the mythological aspects of the figure of the Terrorist. Far from comparing fantasy with the “non real”, for the psychoanalytic theory, fantasy represents a basic dimension of the subjective reality. The manipulation of the time axis (waiting for the future terror, the military theory of prevention) is another important key to the study of the ontology of terrorism. Eventually, there is also to be considered the edge between terrorism/counterterrorism the decisive reality simultaneously stigmatizes and constitutes both antagonistic surfaces.

* BATESON, Gregory, Steps to an Ecology of Mind, Nueva York, Ballantine Books, 1972.

Palabras clave

Relaciones mapa/territorio; terrorismo; ontología; epistemología; retórica; subjetividad;Map/territory relations; terrorism; ontology; epistemology; rhetorics; subjectivity

Texto completo:



AARONSON, Trevor, The Terror Factory, IG Publishing, Nueva York, 2013.

AARONSON, Trevor, “The Informants” en Mother Jones, septiembre-octubre, 2011, ps. 30-43.

AGAMBEN, Giorgio, Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life, Stanford University Press, Stanford,1998.

ARETXAGA, Begoña, “Playing Terrorist”, en ARETXAGA, Begoña, States of Terror, Center for Basque Studies, Reno, 2005, ps. 215-229.

AUSTIN, John L., How to do Things with Words, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1962.

BATESON, Gregory, Steps to an Ecology of Mind, Ballantine Books, Nueva York, 1972.

BATESON, Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity, E.P. Dutton, Nueva York, 1979.

BERGEN, Peter, The Osama Bin Laden I Know: An oral History of al Qaeda’s Leader, Free Press, Nueva York, 2006.

BERGEN, Peter, and ROTHENBERG, Daniel, “Decade of the Drone: Analyzing CIA Drone Attacks, Casualties, and Policy” en BERGERN, Peter, y ROTHENBERG, Daniel, Drone Wars: Transforming Conflict, Law, and Policy, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2014, ps. 12-41.

BORRADORI, Giovanna, Philosophy in a Time of Terror: Dialogues with Jurgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2003.

BUTLER, Judith, “The Force of Fantasy: Feminism, Mapplethorpe, and Discursive Excess” en Difference: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, n. 2, vol. 2, 1990, ps. 105-125.

CARYL, Christian, “Predators and Robots at War” en The New York Review of Books, 2011, ps. 55-57.

CHAMAYOU, Grégoire, A Theory of the Drone, The New Pess, Nueva York y Londres, 2013.

DERRIDA, Jacques, Rogues: Two Essays on Reason, Stanford University Press, Stanford, 2005.

DOUGLAS, Mary, Purity and Danger, Routledge and Kegan, Londres, 1966.

FELDMAN, Allen, Formations of Violence: The Narrative of the Body and Political Terror in Northern Ireland, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1991.

FRAZER, James. G., The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion, Macmillan, Nueva York, 1963.

FRIEDMAN, Robert, “The CIA’s Jihad” en The New Yorker, 27 de marzo de 1995, ps. 36-47.

JACKSON, Richard, Writing the War on Terrorism: Language, Politics, and Counter-Terrorism, Manchester University Press, Manchester, 2005.

KILCULLEN, David, The Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2009.

MacFARQUHAR, Neil, “In Bombing, a Deluge of Details” en The New York Times, 29 de marzo de 1995.

MARTIN, Matt L. y SASSER, Charles W., Predator: The Remote-Control Air War over Iraq and Afghanistan: A Pilot’s Story, Zenith Press, Minneapolis, 2010.

McMANUS, James, Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Nueva York, 2009.

MERTON, Robert K., Social Theory and Social Structure, Free Press, Nueva York, 1968.

MILLER, Jim, The Passion of Michel Foucault, Nueva York, Simon and Schuster, 1993.

MILLER, John, and STONE, Michael, The Cell: Inside the 9/11 Plot, Hyperion, Nueva York, 2002.

MUELLER, John, Overblown: How Politicians and the Terrorism Industry Inflate National Security Threats, and Why We Believe Them, Free Press, Nueva York, 2006.

PALMERTON, Patricia, “The Rhetoric of Terrorism and the Media Responses to the ‘Crisis of Iran’” en Western Journal of Speech Communication n. 52, vol. 2, 1988, ps. 105-121.

PETRAEUS, David H., “Learning Counterinsurgency: Observations from Soldiering in Iraq” en Military Review, enero - febrero 2006.

SICK, Gary, All Fall Down: America’s Tragic Encounter with Iran, Random House, Nueva York, 1985.

SINGER, Peter W., Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century, Penguin Book, Nueva York, 2009.

SLAHI, Mohamedou Ould, Guantánamo Diary, Larry Siems (ed.), Little, Brown and Company, Nueva York, 2015.

SLUKA, Jeffrey A., “Death from Above: UAVs and Losing Hearts and Minds” en Military Review, mayojunio, 2011, ps. 70-76.

SUSKIND, Ron, The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America’s Pursuit of Its Enemies since 9/11, Simon and Schuster, Nueva York, 2006.

STAMPNITZKY, Lisa, Disciplining Terror: How Experts Invented “Terrorism”, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2013.

SCHMITT, Eric, “In Battle to Defang ISIS, U.S. Targets its Psychology” en The New York Times, 29 de diciembre de 2014.

VAYDA, Andrew, “Primitive Warfare”, en D.L. Sills (ed.), International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, vol. 16, Macmillan and Free Press, Nueva York, 1968, ps. 468-471.

VITELLO, Paul and SEMPLE, Kirk, “Muslims Say F.B.I. Tactics Sow Anger and Fear” en The New York Times, 18 de diciembre de 2009.

Von NEUMANN, John, and MORGENSTERN, Oskar, Theory of Games and Economic Behavior, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1944.

WINCH, Peter, The idea of a Social Science and its relation to philosophy, Routledge, Londres, 1977, p.88.

WHITE, Hayden, Tropics of Terror: Essays in Cultural Criticism, John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1978.

WOODS, Chris, Sudden Justice: America’s Secret Drone Wars, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2015.

ZUCKERMAN, Jessica, BUCCI, Steven, P., and CARAFANO, James Jay, “60 Terrorist Plots Since 9/11: Continued Lessons in Domestic Counterterrorism”, Special Report from the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, The Heritage Foundation, 2013.

ZULAIKA, Joseba, Violencia vasca: Metáfora y Sacramento, Nerea, Madrid, 1990.

ZULAIKA, Joseba, Terrorism: The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2009.

ZULAIKA, Joseba, “Drones, Witches and Other Flying Objects: The Force of Fantasy in US Counterterrorism” en Critical Studies in Terrorism, vol. 5, 2012, ps. 51-68.

ZULAIKA, Joseba y DOUGLAS, William, Terror and Taboo: the Follies, Fables, and Faces of Terrorism, Routledge, Londres, 1996.

ZUPANCIC, Alenka, The Shortest Shadow: Nietzsche’s Philosophy of the Two, The MIT Press, Cambridge MA, 2003.

Enlaces refback

  • No hay ningún enlace refback.