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The rise and decline of Sikh anti-state terrorism in India: an economic based explanation

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Thesis type
(Dissertation) Ph.D.
Date created
A majority of the predominant theoretical explanations of terrorism focus primarily on the historical, ideological, and political reasons for individuals’ or groups’ participation in terrorist violence. There is an overall critical absence in these theories about the role of broader structural causes of terrorism such as economic conditions. The limited number of theories/models examining the link between economic conditions and terrorism are relatively underdeveloped. Many economic theories or models concentrate largely on identifying broad macro-level theoretical constructs to indicate when individuals or groups within society are willing to participate in terrorist movements. A large number of these perspectives emphasize the central role of relative deprivation and highlight various economic indicators to measure this construct, but fail to provide an associated explanation about the process by which individuals become deprived and the exact factors that lead to this economic deprivation. The present thesis adapts the economic hypotheses of Corrado’s anti-state terrorism model in order to explain the rise and the decline of Sikh anti-state terrorism in Punjab. The thesis incorporates quantitative empirical data to show economic conditions in Punjab and examines trends in Sikh violence. This thesis also modifies Corrado’s economic anti-state terrorism model in order to improve its comprehensiveness and direct applicability to the Punjab conflict. The revised model has been directly shaped by economic conditions specific to Punjab that contributed to the economic deprivation of the Sikh population. The new model is unique in that it provides a detailed account and theoretical link as to how specific economic conditions in Punjab contributed directly to feelings of relative deprivation amongst the Sikh population, which led to the rise of Sikh terrorism. This thesis explains how the amelioration of these economic conditions led to the decline of the violent Sikh anti-state terrorism movement. This new economic anti-state terrorism model provides a new and vibrant perspective on how nations can prevent the rise of anti-state terrorism movements, or reduce active terrorist violence within their borders.
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Scholarly level
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Davies, Garth
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