The steam-valve theory: Terrorism and political efficacy

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Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
Date created
Author: Wu, Edith
A wealth of literature examines terrorism and its relationship with political participation, often concerning legitimate opportunities to effect political change. Overall, these studies support the notion that a democratic system is an effective bulwark against terrorism. There is, however, a paucity of research that evaluates societal activism from the citizen’s perspective and its effects on political violence. When a disgruntled public lacks proper avenues to be heard and engage meaningfully in the political process, terrorist events may arise. Using data from the Global Terrorism Database, World Values Survey, World Bank, and Freedom House, a multilevel negative binomial analysis is conducted to assess terrorist events in relation to political activism across 18 countries from 1990 to 2012, while considering factors often cited as catalysts for political violence. The findings suggest that terrorism is significantly more likely to occur when frustrated citizens do not perceive peaceful political activism as a viable alternative.
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Scholarly level
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Davies, Garth
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