Framing reality, choosing the tactic
: The Islamic Jihad Movement and the Second Intifada (2000-2005)

  • Antonella Acinapura

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This research examines how framing informed the selection and evolution of different tactics by the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine (PIJ) during the Second Intifada (2000-2005). Drawing upon a new dataset on PIJ repertoires of actions and a frame analysis of PIJ written documentation, the analysis demonstrates that the selection and evolution of tactics by the PIJ depended on different interpretations of the conflict dynamics. Unfolding the link between relational dynamics, framing, and tactics solves some of the puzzles regarding the mixed effects of the Israeli repression on strategic action. Moreover, it demonstrates that the PIJ’s use of certain tactics was not dictated by religious ideologies or cultural beliefs. Rather, it was influenced by the elaboration of resonant collective action frames. In moving beyond the impasse of ‘why political violence’, this research focuses on the ‘how’ and ‘when’ questions and offers an understanding of the PIJ as pragmatic and flexible, whose complexity challenges simple labelling, such that of a ‘radical’ and ‘terrorist’ organization as a whole.

Thesis embargoed until 31 July 2026. 
Date of AwardJul 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SupervisorAndrew Thomson (Supervisor), Zaheer Kazmi (Supervisor) & Michael Bourne (Supervisor)


  • Political violence
  • social movement studies
  • contentious politics
  • Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine (PIJ)
  • collective action frames

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