The Behaviour and Evolution of Boko Haram: A Multi-Level Analysis

Anjide, Solomon (2019) The Behaviour and Evolution of Boko Haram: A Multi-Level Analysis. PhD thesis, University of Lincoln.

The Behaviour and Evolution of Boko Haram: A Multi-Level Analysis
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Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Item Status:Live Archive


Boko Haram (BH) has transformed from a small group living in isolation to a large- scale terrorist
movement. Academics and policy makers suggest that BH seeks to substitute Nigeria’s
secular state with a strict Islamic system, while BH’s violent campaign has spilled over
to Nigeria’s neighbouring countries in the Lake Chad region. Existing studies have suggested that
socioeconomic deprivation along with religion and counter terrorism (CT) sustain BH’s
violence, with these studies having concentrated on the causes and consequences of BH

Terrorist behaviour is dynamic, and thus the ever-changing nature of terrorist behaviour requires
groups such as BH to be studied over time both internally and externally in order to have
an in-depth understanding of a terror group.

This thesis is a case study on BH. It investigates how the behaviour of BH has influenced its
evolution from a small isolationist movement to a large-scale violent group. The study provides a
multi-level analysis on the role of internal and external factors on the evolution of BH. The
multi-level analysis is used to examine the behaviour and evolution of BH through
individual, group, state, sub-national and international levels of explanations.

A mixed methods case study approach is applied in examining BH and their strategic choices. These
methods include documents, statistics and a qualitative technique of semi-structured
interviews with some senior Nigerian government officials and experts on BH. Additionally, it
employs the Most Similar System Design (MSSD) comparative method to assess the variation in BH

The findings of this thesis extend beyond the conventional linkage of BH to poverty, religion and
illiteracy. They instead provide explanations on the strategic choices, intensity of
violence and changing tactics of BH.

This thesis illustrates that different aspects of terrorist behaviour determine the evolution of a
terrorist group. The behaviour of terrorist groups relates to their ability to function, and
without one aspect of such behaviour, other explanations will be incomplete, therefore
making any investigation through a single unit simplistic. The study suggests that multi-level
analysis provides a strong methodological advantage in terrorism research. Its flexibility
enables the application of more theories and empirical studies for a more systematic and
critical debate in terrorism research. The study recommends areas for policy actions and future
research on BH.

Keywords:Terrorism, Islam, Behaviour
Subjects:L Social studies > L250 International Relations
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
ID Code:35710
Deposited On:17 Apr 2019 14:27

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