Multilevel analysis of female suicide terrorism: the individual, organisational and environmental levels

Xenofontos, Marina (2013) Multilevel analysis of female suicide terrorism: the individual, organisational and environmental levels. MSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    The study of female suicide terrorism has evolved from an unaddressed issue to a rapidly developing academic field. This thesis is informed by research drawn from a number of academic articles, books, websites, databases, case studies, governmental and official reports in an attempt to analyse female suicide terrorism at the individual, organisational and environmental levels. It answers questions such as why and how women become involved in suicide terrorism, why and how terrorist organisations increasingly recruit women in their suicide campaigns and how the environmental changes in the communities shape this rising phenomenon.
    By reviewing the literature and statistical data on suicide terrorism from academic articles, terrorism websites and global databases, the thesis proposes that ever since the first female suicide attack in 1985, the tactic has been increasingly employed by a number of terrorist organisations around the globe. From Lebanon and Israel, the tactic has spread to Sri Lanka, Turkey, Chechnya, Kashmir, Iraq and Iran, and most recently Afghanistan and Pakistan. Examination of terrorist organisations including Al-Qaeda, Kurdistan Workers' Party, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Chechen Black Widows, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, Hezbollah, Hamas, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Taliban reveals that due to the changes in the socioeconomic and religious infrastructures of communities in times and regions of conflicts, the structures and nature of operations of terrorist groups have changed and women are increasingly gaining front-line and operational roles.
    The findings of this research suggest that at the individual level female suicide terrorists around the world share several incentives and motives, such as revenge, redemption, relationship and respect. At the organisational level terrorist groups utilise women because of their practical, strategic and tactical advantages, including their ability to avoid detection and offer an element of surprise, generate great global media attention and challenge public assumptions, society norms and gender stereotypes. At the environmental level the thesis proposes that the political, cultural and economic globalisation has brought about contagion effects with massive civilian casualties and human rights abuses in regions of conflicts worldwide.
    The thesis further proposes that efforts to combat female suicide terrorism should focus on de-mobilisation, de-glamorisation and de-legitimisation of the phenomenon, through improvement of cooperation and intelligence communication at the national and international levels, while maintaining democratic values and civil liberties in threatened societies.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2014 09:18
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 12:33

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