Document Type

Student Research Paper


Spring 2016

Academic Department

Politics, Philosophy, and Legal Studies


Besides the infamous abduction of the 276 Chibok girls, little is known internationally about Boko Haram. However tens of thousands have been killed because of this terrorist organization. The purpose of this thesis is to identify how Boko Haram selects and obtains new recruits in order to prevent future recruitment from occurring. The scope of this thesis is examined through theories such as rational choice, frustration aggression, narcissistic rage, relative deprivation, class theory, functionalism, tribal particularism, and Stockholm syndrome. The methodology of this project included observational textual analysis, discourse analysis, and historical observations, all of which were obtained through peer-reviewed articles, news sources, and interview recordings with both current and former Boko Haram members as well as Boko Haram victims. It is through these sources that I discovered Boko Haram recruits its members by taking advantage of ethnic fissures, rationality, limited economic opportunity, and alienation from the Nigerian government as well as through abduction utilizing Stockholm syndrome. By identifying these recruitment tactics, a policy recommendation was constructed in order to help advise the effort to cut off Boko Haram’s most valuable resource – people.


Senior Thesis.