Defense Date

2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Public Policy & Administration

First Advisor

Judyth L. Twigg

Abstract

A suicide attack is an extreme modus operandi of terrorism. This research examines the application of two similar sociological theories to terrorism and specifically, to suicide terrorism. Three models are built to test if Merton‘s strain theory can explain the propensities of provinces to produce terrorists and suicide bombers in the first phase. Next, in Phase 2 one model is built on a combination of altruistic and fatalistic type variables to test if Durkheim‘s anomie theory can explain the probability of a terrorist to become suicide bomber or not. The analyses of models 1, 2, and 3 are performed in Phase 1 using aggregate secondary data and the analysis of model 4 is performed in Phase 2 using individual level secondary data. While models 1 and 2 are employing multiple regression, models 3 and 4 use logistic regression analyses. Model 1 tests the propensity of a province to produce terrorists relative to six strain variables, while model 2 develops an optimum model, testing the same associations by using only three significant independent variables. Model 3 tests the probability of a province to produce a suicide bomber(s) using the same six indicators. Model 4 tests the probability of a terrorist to become a suicide bomber relative to anomie theory driven by seven indicators. The results reflect support for the overall model 1, while only the indicators of unemployment rate and political representation in the legislative assembly significantly contribute in explaining the propensity score of a province to produce a terrorist. However, the optimum model (2) includes three statistically significant indicators of unemployment rate, political representation in the legislative assembly, and quality of life. Although model 3 also emerged significant in its overall effect, only educational opportunity significantly contributes to explaining the probability of a province to produce a suicide bomber. Model 4 is also supported. The individual effects reveal that the indicators of age group, income level, and hierarchical position in the organization statistically contribute to explaining the probability of a terrorist to become a suicide bomber. In general, the research provides partial support for the application of strain and anomie theories to terrorism and suicide attacks.

Rights

© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

August 2009

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