Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Unforeseen Patterns: Women Who Support the Islamic State from Within the United States
by Smith, Margaret Webber, Ph.D., The George Washington University, 2020, 184; 27830012
Abstract (Summary)

Current efforts at mapping how women engage in violent extremism and terrorist activities highlight a lack of contemporary understanding regarding women’s motivation to support and participate in extremist activity. Traditionally, terrorism studies have focused on men, in large part due to the gendered assumption that women play passive and less interesting roles than men in terrorist organizations. However, terrorist organizations cannot survive and, the mission cannot succeed without women. This dissertation explores the phenomenon of female support for the Islamic State (IS) by assessing how several individual-level conditions influence a woman’s choice to support IS from within the United States (US) instead of traveling to IS-held territory among 20 US women charged with crimes related to IS. Focusing on the conditions of religion, citizenship, family status, online activity, and physical isolation, a Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) is conducted, revealing three pathways to supporting IS from within the US. Based on the QCA results, a typology of support is created by identifying mobilization patterns among women who follow a particular pathway. Specifically, the mobilization types provided in the typology are provider, protector, inciter, and attacker, signifying the different ways women contribute to IS goals and initiatives from within the US. Clarifying and categorizing how women contribute to IS may aid policymakers in the development of more effective programming to prevent and counter terrorist activity.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Newcomer, Kathryn
Commitee: Strader, Eiko, Koven, Barnett S.
School: The George Washington University
Department: Public Policy & Administration
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 81/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Public administration, Public policy, Womens studies
Keywords: Extremism, Islamic State, Mobilization, Radicalization, Terrorism, Women
Publication Number: 27830012
ISBN: 9798645445607
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