Woodslane Online Catalogues
Targets of Terror: Contemporary Assassination
- Targets of Terror: Contemporary Assassination, aims to address the repercussions of assassination as a tactic of terrorism and delineate post-assassination political and societal outcomes across target type. Assassination of heads of state, such as John F. Kennedy and Yitzhak Rabin, are rare events but the political murders of police personnel, local government officials, politicians, and journalists occur frequently. These 'softer' targets (low-level and mid-level government officials, for instance) are often targeted during broader campaigns of terrorist violence and the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) records a significant number of these assassination events-16,246 to be exact-between 1977 and 2017. Both qualitative and quantitative methods are utilized in this project-using survival analysis to examine the span of time from a terrorist assassination to potential shifts in state political institutions. Changes in political institutions in authoritarian, mixed or tumultuous regimes are compared against democratic regimes (utilizing Polity score changes from the Polity IV Index as the indicator of institutional change and detailed further below). Repressive and non-repressive regimes are delineated and changes in political institutions are examined in order to determine the extent to which the type of assassination target may or may not be linked to political institutional change. The assassinations and target data is derived from the GTD and repression levels are measured using the Political Terror Scale (PTS). Establishing differences in post-assassination political outcomes across regimes and target types provides a baseline study upon which to build future examinations of the types and severity of risks to governmental institutions as well as to the broader society.
- Laura Bell is Assistant Professor of Political Science at West Texas A&M University.
- Chapter 1 - Introduction Chapter 2 - Characterizing Contemporary Assassination Chapter 3 - The Data and the Targets Chapter 4 - Target Selection and Political Institutional Changes Chapter 5 - Government Officials Chapter 6 - The Politically Active Chapter 7 - Law Enforcement Chapter 8 - Journalists Chapter 9 - Military and Religious Leaders Chapter 10 - Understanding Terrorist Assassinations Bibliography
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