Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Deliberate Death: An Investigation Into the Nature of Suicide Attacks

Echemendia, Michael Patrick (2010) Deliberate Death: An Investigation Into the Nature of Suicide Attacks. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Primary Text

Download (1MB) | Preview


Suicide attacks are a complex and vexing phenomena that are appearing with greater frequency in the international arena. Previous approaches to studying suicide attacks tend to examine them at one-level of analysis. While helpful, the insights produced are isolated from other crucial factors. This dissertation examines suicide attacks at three-levels of analysis as it investigates the organizational incentives, individual motivations and how the attacks achieve societal resonance. As such, the dissertation asks three primary research questions: why do organizations adopt suicide attacks, why are individuals motivated to become suicide attackers and how do the attacks attain resonance?The research questions are applied to four case studies selected along a conflict continuum where suicide attacks were used. The cases are (a) the Japanese use of Kamikazes during World War II, (b) the LTTE's use of suicide attacks during its irregular war against Sri Lanka, (c) Hamas' use of suicide attacks as domestic terrorism against Israel, and (d) Al Qaeda's use of suicide attacks as transnational terrorism. The dissertation argues that organizations use suicide attacks out of defensive necessity and for strategic purposes, individuals are motivated to become suicide attackers by a religo-nationalist liberation ideology that promises the attacker post-mortem incentives for his or her death, and that societal resonance is achieved when the organization draws on religious, cultural and nationalistic narratives that enable the population to accept the tactic.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Echemendia, Michael
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairWilliams, Philridgway1@pitt.eduRIDGWAY1
Committee MemberNelson, Paulpjnelson@pitt.eduPJNELSON
Committee MemberSloan,
Committee MemberGormley, Dennisdgormley@pitt.eduDGORMLEY
Date: 29 September 2010
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 20 August 2010
Approval Date: 29 September 2010
Submission Date: 24 August 2010
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Graduate School of Public and International Affairs > Public and International Affairs
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Liberation Ideology; Post-Mortem Incentives; Suicide Attacks; Terrorism
Other ID:, etd-08242010-092039
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:01
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:49


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item