Suicide Bombings

By Riaz Hassan

© 2011 – Routledge

116 pages | 3 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415588874
pub: 2011-03-30
US Dollars$25.95
Hardback: 9780415588867
pub: 2011-04-01
US Dollars$115.00

e–Inspection Copy

About the Book

In an age when the Western world is preoccupied with worries about weapons of mass destruction in terrorist hands, terrorists across many parts of the globe are using a more basic device as a weapon – life itself.

Suicide bombing has become a weapon of choice among terrorist groups because of its lethality and unrivalled ability to cause mayhem and fear, but what is the real driving force behind these attacks? For the first time, Suicide Bombings analyzes concrete data from The Suicide Terrorism Database at Flinders University, Australia, to explain what motivates the perpetrators. The results serve to largely discredit common wisdom that religion and an impressionable personality are the principal causes, and show rather that a cocktail of motivations fuel these attacks which include politics, humiliation, revenge, retaliation, and altruism.

Suicide Bombings provides a short but incisive insight into this much publicized form of terrorism, and as such is an informative and engaging resource for students, academics, and indeed anyone with an interest in this topic.

Table of Contents

1. Life as a Weapon: Historical Roots of a Modern Phenomenon 2. The Global Rise of Suicide Bombings: Analysis of Trends 3. Explaining Suicide Bombings 4. Suicide Bombings: Homicidal Killing or a Weapon of War? 5. What Have we Learned? Appendix Table A

About the Author

Riaz Hassan is Emeritus Professor at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, and Global Professor of Social Research and Public Policy at New York University Abu Dhabi. In an academic career spanning over forty years he has conducted research in a number of areas including sociology of housing, sociology of suicide and Muslim societies. He is a fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and a member of the Order of Australia.

About the Series


Shortcuts is a major new series of concise, accessible introductions to some of the major issues of our times. The series is developed as an A to Z coverage of emergent or new social, cultural and political phenomena. Issues and topics covered range from food to fat, from climate change to suicide bombing, from love to zombies. Whilst the principal focus of Shortcuts is the relevance of current issues, topics and debates to the social sciences and humanities, the books will also appeal to a wider audience seeking guidance on how to engage with today’s leading social, political and philosophical debates. Short and concise, the books will include cutting-edge pedagogical features such as a glossary of key terms, one-page argument summaries and a webliography.

Anthony Elliott is Director of the Hawke Research Institute, where he is Research Professor of Sociology at the University of South Australia. He is also Visiting Professor at University College Dublin, Ireland. His contact information is:


Professor Anthony Elliott, FASSA

Director, Hawke Research Institute

Research Professor of Sociology

University of South Australia

GPO Box 2471

Adelaide SA 5001


Tel.: 61 8 8302 1084




UCD School of Sociology
Newman Building
University College Dublin
Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
Tel: +353 1 716 8674
Fax: +353 1 716 1125

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General