Date of Graduation

5-2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Sociology (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Sociology and Criminology

Advisor

Jeff Gruenewald

Committee Member

Brittany N. Hearne

Second Committee Member

Casey T. Harris

Keywords

Extremism, Far-Right, Germany, Murder-Suicide, Terrorism, U.S.

Abstract

Despite increasing empirical research on suicide terrorism since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, prior studies have focused primarily on radical Islamic terrorism in non-Western contexts. As a result, less is known about how murder-suicide attacks committed by other ideological movements unfold, particularly the extreme far-right in North America and Europe. Researchers have begun to theorize the social and psychological processes believed to play a role in the radicalization of suicide terrorists. However, the observable, situational processes shaping radicalized individuals when planning, preparing for, and executing suicide terrorism remain underexplored. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to identify intervention points by comparatively examining American and German extreme far-right murder-suicide attacks using a multi-method storyline analysis approach. Drawing from the criminal events perspective and bounded rationality framework, this study uses data (n=28) from the U.S. Extremist Crime Database (ECDB) and the Database on Terrorism in Germany: Right-Wing Extremism (DTGrwx) to identify the intervention points in planning and preparing for suicide terrorism. The findings from this study have implications for federal, state, and local law enforcement who are responsible for terrorism prevention.

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