Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Liam Anderson (Committee Chair), Chad Atkinson (Committee Member), Primod Kantha (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


This study measures the influence that multiple social, political, and economic conditions have on the development of ethno/national separatist terrorist organizations. It begins by analyzing the nationalist theories of primordialism, modernism, and ethnosymbolism, and the terrorist theories of strategic logic and psychology. The nationalist theories consider cultural symbols a powerful component behind nationalist movements and populations with significant symbolic attachments especially prone to react aggressively against perceived threats to those symbols. Proponents of strategic logic and psychological theory also view terrorism as reactive but deviate on whether this response is conceived rationally. Examining the origins of Basque and Catalan terrorism and Roma passivity in Spain assists in identifying background conditions that are evaluated using a logit regression model. The logit model assesses two-hundred ninety-seven minority populations in one-hundred twenty-six states, primarily between 1945 and 2003. The results show cultural identity and sensitivity, violent encounters, political freedom, social unrest, underrepresentation, disproportionate economic privation, and stagnant educational systems and other factors of civil development correlating significantly with the formation of ethno/national separatist terrorist organizations. These findings imply an ability to detect populations and environments with increased potential for producing ethno/national separatist terrorism, and that by addressing those conditions facilitating its development, it may be possible to reduce the probability of additional campaigns developing.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Political Science

Year Degree Awarded