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The logic of suicide terrorism: Does regime type affect the choice of targets?
Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Global Studies. Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Learning Practices inside and outside School (LPS), Communication, Culture & Diversity @ JU (CCD@JU).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1240-4323
2017 (English)In: Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression, ISSN 1943-4472, E-ISSN 1943-4480Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Pape (2003, 2005) famously argued that suicide terrorism is specifically designed to coerce democracies. However, also several autocracies have been targeted. This article argues that suicide attacks as a strategy of coercion rely on a general expectation of being able to raise the cost of conflict for the target state. Raising costs may require attacking different types of targets depending on the regime type one seeks to coerce. While the cost of conflict can be raised for democracies by attacking civilian targets, it can be raised for autocratic regimes if the targets are chosen strategically, for example, by focusing on actors that are particularly important for the government. The article then analyzes statically the risk of government targets being attacked with all incidents of suicide attacks in the Global Terrorism Database, 1981-2014. The results corroborate the hypothesis that the more autocratic the regime, the more likely are suicide terrorists to attack government rather than civilian targets.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2017.
Keyword [en]
Suicide terrorism, regime type, choice of targets, rational choice
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-36832DOI: 10.1080/19434472.2017.1367707ISI: XYZScopus ID: 2-s2.0-85027852785OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-36832DiVA: diva2:1131179
Available from: 2017-08-13 Created: 2017-08-13 Last updated: 2017-10-04

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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  • vancouver
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More styles
Language
  • de-DE
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  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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