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Clandestine Political Violence


  • 12 b/w illus. 5 tables
  • Page extent: 338 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.61 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 332.4/2
  • Dewey version: 23
  • LC Classification: JC328.6 .D445 2013
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Political violence
    • Violence
    • POLITICAL SCIENCE / General.--bisacsh

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521195744)

Clandestine Political Violence compares four types of clandestine political violence: left-wing (in Italy and Germany), right-wing (in Italy), ethnonationalist (in Spain) and religious fundamentalist (in Islamist clandestine organizations). Oriented toward theory building, Della Porta develops her own definition of clandestine political violence. Building on the most recent developments in social movement studies, Della Porta proposes an original interpretative model. Using a unique research design, she singles out some common causal mechanisms at the onset, during the persistence and at the demise of clandestine political violence. The development of the phenomenon is located within the interactions among social movements, countermovements and the state. She pays particular attention to the ways different actors cognitively construct the reality they act upon. Based on original empirical research as well as existing research in many languages, this book is rich in empirical evidence on some of the most crucial cases of clandestine political violence.

• A cross-national comparison of crucial cases of political violence • Draws upon resources ranging from official government documentation to life histories • Locates political violence within social movement studies


1. Political violence and social movements: an introduction; 2. Escalating policing; 3. Competitive escalation during protest cycles; 4. The activation of militant networks; 5. Organizational compartmentalization; 6. Action militarization; 7. Ideological encapsulation; 8. Militant enclosure; 9. Leaving clandestinity? Reversing mechanisms of engagement; 10. Clandestine political violence: some conclusions.


'Della Porta, one of the foremost scholars of social movements, turns her attention in this new work to the question of why groups resort to terrorism, or what she terms clandestine political violence … this is a necessary addition to any academic collection on terrorism, political violence or social movements. Summing up: highly recommended.' A. G. Reiter, Choice

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