Reanchoring terrorism studies: an application of social movement theory to the concept of domestic terrorism

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Publication Type dissertation
School or College College of Social & Behavioral Science
Department Sociology
Author Simpson, Matthew Aaron
Title Reanchoring terrorism studies: an application of social movement theory to the concept of domestic terrorism
Date 2014-08
Description In large part due to the events of September 11, 2001, terrorism has emerged as a predominant object of study within the sociological community. This dissertation observes terrorist violence through the lens of social movement theory in order to prevent its decoupling from contentious politics more broadly defined. The concepts of political opportunity structures (POS) form the theoretical underpinnings for three analyses. First, domestic terrorism is observed as part of the extralegal POS. This analysis compares the effects of corruption and terrorism as dual paths for goal attainment. Second, domestic terrorism is analyzed based on the more conventional POS tenets of regime type and repressive capacity. Finally, the models outlined in the previous analyses are re-evaluated with respect to several distinct forms of contentious politics. Results indicate that domestic terrorism can be observed to operate similar to corruption in extralegal POS. Mainstream models of POS also support the prevalence of domestic terrorism, though they are not substantially predictive of the severity of that violence. Finally, support exists for the inclusion of many forms of contentious politics within the social movement repertoire--including domestic terrorist violence--but further research must be accomplished in order to improve the models' predictive capacity with respect to each individual form.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Contentious politics; Corruption; Domestic terrorism; Political opportunity structure; Repression; Social movement theory
Dissertation Institution University of Utah
Dissertation Name Doctor of Philosophy
Language eng
Rights Management Copyright © Matthew Aaron Simpson 2014
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 925,769 bytes
Identifier etd3/id/3209
ARK ark:/87278/s6b313kw
Setname ir_etd
Date Created 2014-11-04
Date Modified 2018-03-22
ID 196775
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6b313kw