Joseph Gardner

Political Science
Fall 2013

Kidnappings and hostage-taking have played central roles in conflicts and governance throughout human history and across a wide variety of different societies. The tactic remains prominent in a number of contemporary terrorist and insurgent conflicts, but wide variation exists in its adoption. This project seeks to explain why some states experience heightened periods of political abductions in certain time periods, while violent groups in similar states or in different time periods fail to adopt the practice of kidnapping. By tracing the causal mechanisms through which kidnapping tactics emerge and spread, this project aims to show how political and cultural institutions may shape the form of political violence that emerges in different environments.