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How Terrorist Organizations Survive: Cooperation and Competition in Terrorist Group Networks

Phillips, Brian J. (2012) How Terrorist Organizations Survive: Cooperation and Competition in Terrorist Group Networks. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Why do some terrorist groups last much longer than others? This dissertation is among a small but growing number of studies to apply social networks analysis to the study of terrorism, and addresses an outcome of interest that is important but under analyzed. Terrorist group survival is puzzling because it is not explained by the conditions that encourage terrorism generally. Much of the literature has focused on terrorist attacks as an outcome of interest, ignoring the group context in which most incidents occur. Organizational and social network research suggests that group dynamics have important effects on outcomes, but connections between these studies and terrorism are underdeveloped. The dissertation presents an organizational-network model of terrorist group survival. Organizational aspects are the base of the model, but network attributes are a greater innovation, as this research offers the first explanation of terrorist group longevity to incorporate network attributes. The argument suggests the importance of direct ties between terrorist groups – cooperative and adversarial. It also argues for a role of interorganizational relations more broadly, in terms of indirect competition and eigenvector centrality. Finally, I incorporate the state into the explanation, emphasizing how state attributes condition intergroup relations. Hypotheses are evaluated on a newly-extended global dataset of terrorist group networks 1987-2005. Case studies of terrorist groups in Colombia, Northern Ireland, and Pakistan illustrate how causal mechanisms often function as argued.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Phillips, Brian J.bjp38@pitt.eduBJP38
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairSavun, Burcuburcu@pitt.eduBURCU
Committee MemberGochman, Charles S.gochman@pitt.eduGOCHMAN
Committee MemberWilliams, Philridgway1@pitt.eduRIDGWAY1
Committee MemberAsal,
Date: 2 July 2012
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 16 March 2012
Approval Date: 2 July 2012
Submission Date: 5 March 2012
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 246
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Political Science
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: terrorism, terrorist groups, survival analysis, hazard analysis, international relations, international security
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2012 20:37
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2017 05:15


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