Dynamic Insurgency: Does Target Audience Conflict Proximity Affect the Collective Action Frames of a Transnational Insurgent Group?



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Transnational insurgent groups operate within an ongoing dual system of receiving outside support and garnering new sources of sustainability. Civil conflict scholarship therefore examines various insurgency support provisions such as political influence, finances, and manpower which originate from ethnic diasporas, NGOs, and outside governments among other sources. Recent scholarship also examines insurgent group strategies of gaining support within their areas of influence and how these strategies affect group behavior and structure. Less has been done, however, to understand how insurgents project and promote to potential outside sources of support. This project therefore engages how transnational insurgent groups seek to develop effectiveness in promotion to outsiders through shifts in their collective action frames (CAFs). While there is ample evidence that CAFs are influenced by certain economic, demographic, and political variables of the intended audience, this study suggests another variable, proximity, may also have an effect on CAF production and dynamics and asks, “does target audience conflict proximity affect the collective action frames of a transnational insurgent group?” The project utilizes the analytical lenses of framing process and proximity and engages the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran (PDKI) and its collective action frames at differing distances from its conflict with Iran. It finds that proximity has several effects on CAF dynamics and demonstrates the need to expand the idea of proximity to include not only the effects of geographic distance, but temporal proximity as well.