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Title: Understanding political assassinations : a behavioural analysis
Author: Scholes, Angela
ISNI:       0000 0004 2716 1728
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2011
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The existing research regarding political assassinations largely focuses on characteristics of assassins, for example, by identifying typologies (e.g. Clarke, 1990), and is limited by small sample sizes, restricted geographic locations and confounded research designs. The current research examines 400 incidents of political assassination, occurring between 1990 and 2008, worldwide. Data are collected from UK broadsheet newspapers (via LexisNexis) and the Mickolus series of books, which provide accounts of transnational terrorism. This data is coded on a series of variables, describing aspects of the assassin (e.g. identity, weapon choice, presence at the scene, number of assassins and roles), and aspects of the victim (e.g. age, geographical region in which they are killed, location and timing in which they are targeted, their previous experiences of threats and assassination attempts, whether they have a bodyguard or not). Three models are explored. First, the Situational Vulnerability of targets of assassination is considered, incorporating the Accessibility of the target, and the Victim's Preparedness (i.e. previous threats, previous attempts, and presence of bodyguard). Second, the Specificity of the attack is explored in terms of the collateral victims of assassinations (injuries and deaths), in relation to the type of perpetrator, the location of the attack, and the geographical region in which the attack occurred. Finally, the research models the Method of attack used by assassins, in terms of weapon Complexity, and the Proximity between victim and offender at the time of the attack. Interactions were found between Accessibility and Complexity, Proximity, and Specificity; Victim Preparedness and Complexity and Specificity; and Complexity and Proximity. The results are considered in relation to the literature and the implications and future directions for research are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available