The terrorist cell : an historical and evolutionary study of Irish terrorist cells c. 1881 - 1896 : a thesis presented in full fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Ph.D. in Defence and Strategic Studies at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Within the field of terrorism studies little is understood as to how and why terrorist cells change over time and place. This is a complex question, which has evolutionary implications. That is, where do terror cells come from and why, once formed, do some succeed and some fail. To answer these questions this study uses an evolutionary methodology to analyse Victorian-era terror cells between 1881 and 1896. This was done by taking specific concepts of evolution including evolutionary variations, inheritance, diversity and selection, to model the evolutionary history of terrorist cells over time and place. In deriving this model six main evolutionary concepts were found, which were instrumental in both the planned and unplanned evolution of terrorist cells. This included, identifying adaptive characteristics that were crucial in a cell’s ability to survive and operate within a multifaceted landscape. Additional findings from this study uncovered the complex inter-dependent relationships that exist between terror cells and actors in the landscape, which resulted in uncovering sources that facilitated the evolution of cells. Ultimately, the evolutionary history model is a useful tool for understanding the evolvability of a cell and building historical and comparative reference points to better understand a terror cell’s place within the landscape.