Under the shadows of swords: propaganda of the deed in the history of terrorism

Campion, Kristy Kate (2015) Under the shadows of swords: propaganda of the deed in the history of terrorism. PhD thesis, James Cook University.

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Abstract

Propaganda of the Deed is a conceptual tradition which uses calculated and media-oriented terrorist violence with symbolic and strategic intent. This research examined how Propaganda of the Deed has endured over the last one hundred and forty years to influence the continuity of terrorism as a form of political discourse. This thesis illuminates previously unidentified paradigms and paradigmatic shifts in the use of Propaganda of the Deed.

Propaganda of the Deed was investigated using a comparative historical analysis. David Rapoport's Four Waves of Modern Terror theory provided the analytical framework. This delimited the research field, with one representative terrorist movement selected from each wave. The research methodology was based on analysis of terrorist propaganda, and situated using the historical context and empirical record. The use of Propaganda of the Deed by those focus movements was then cross analysed through six major themes found in terrorist propaganda. Those themes included advocating the theoretical purpose; justifying the transition to violence; celebrating the strategic methodology; advising on the tactics; its implementation as a systematic campaign; and glorifying the revolution and martyrdom.

This thesis aimed to address the gap in knowledge currently affecting Propaganda of the Deed in the history of terrorism. Established research in the field is lacking in historical analysis, being largely written by journalists, sociologists, and political scientists. An historical study using this methodology and framework has no precedent. Historical analyses provide an original comprehensive perspective, and yield new outcomes on how Propaganda of the Deed in terrorism has endured throughout history.

Research also involved an examination of whether later terrorist movements were familiar with the usage of Propaganda of the Deed by earlier movements. The study concluded that terrorist movements were often aware of the writings of earlier movements, though this was not referenced directly in the propaganda. Therefore it is plausible that terrorists were influenced by the actions of preceding groups. The historical context also suggests that there was an opportunity for the transmission of revolutionary knowledge, both directly and indirectly, through the movement of revolutionaries around the globe.

The thesis identified a series of previously unrecognised paradigms and paradigmatic shifts in the use of Propaganda of the Deed by the focus movements. These paradigmatic shifts were the result of changes in the historical context, technology, and ideology. The study thus establishes that Propaganda of the Deed is both traditional and innovative. It has changed incrementally in unique ways with each new wave, especially in regards to the manifestation of strategic and tactical methodologies. However, the overarching strategic intent, observed in the justification for violence and the theoretical purposes, demonstrated adherence to the traditional concept. Therefore, Propaganda of the Deed is innovative in transcending previous paradigms, while simultaneously conserving its traditional intent.

Item ID: 48293
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: anti-colonialists, Four Waves of Modern Terror, history of terrorism, Islamist terror, new left terror, propaganda of the deed, propaganda, Russian anarchists, terrorism in the media, terrorism, terrorist propaganda, war on terror, war on terrorism
Date Deposited: 05 Apr 2017 04:06
FoR Codes: 22 PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES > 2202 History and Philosophy of Specific Fields > 220209 History of Ideas @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950599 Understanding Past Societies not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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