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NCJ Number: 220458 Find in a Library
Title: Suicide Missions as Witnessing: Expansions, Contrasts
Journal: Studies in Conflict & Terrorism  Volume:30  Issue:10  Dated:October 2007  Pages:857-887
Author(s): Michael Roberts
Date Published: October 2007
Page Count: 31
Type: Literature Review
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article surveys the literature on suicide missions (SMs) focusing on the phenomenon and the affirmation of the justice of their cause by individuals/organizations deploying such methods with the intent to gain better insight into the motivations of individuals and/or organizations and SMs.
Abstract: The conventional definition of suicide missions or SMs, as “a violent attack designed in such a way as to make the death of the perpetrators strictly essential for its success” has the advantage of parsimony and provides a solid platform for broad generalizations about the purpose of SMs and the motivation of those individuals and/or organizations. Studies of SMs usually focus solely on attacks. They also have highlighted the performative character of suicide missions as acts of witness. By extending surveys to suicidal acts that embrace no-escape attacks, theatrical assignation, defensive suicide, and suicidal protest, one gains further insight into the motivations of individuals and organizations. Illustrative studies, notably the assassinations of Mahatma Gandhi and Anwar Sadat, as well as Tamil Tiger operations, generate a typology that underlines the benefits of such an extension in surveys. The Japanese and Tamil contexts reveal the profound differences in readings of sacrificial acts of atonement or punishment by local constituencies. The dimension of SMs across different political and cultural settings leads to the argument that in order to derive more information on the variety of motives/contexts inducing suicidal sacrifice of self for a cause, the surveys should be expanded to embrace a whole series of other actions as stated above. 136 notes
Main Term(s): Suicide causes
Index Term(s): Suicide; Terrorism/Mass Violence; Terrorist ideologies; Terrorist tactics
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