Kidnapping Politics in East Asia
Author(s)Samuels, Richard J.
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Introduction: History is filled with political abductions, incidents in which individuals are kidnapped and held hostage by hostile groups or states to gain leverage or legitimacy for their cause.1 Such episodes have been used since antiquity to highlight the failure of rulers to perform their single-most important function-- protecting citizens from harm. Consequently, kidnappings have opened up deep political chasms and often have been used by political actors to identify enemies, distill collective fears, clarify national deficiencies, redefine frontiers, and mobilize social movements. They have long figured in justifications for both aggression and conciliation with neighbors. Some political actors have capitalized on captivity to frame and highlight national weakness and the fecklessness of leaders. Others have spun out accounts of heroism to demonstrate national strength and visionary leadership. Either way, the manipulation of the captivity passion for political ends often has been used to generate public sympathy to reorient national policies.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Political Science
Journal of East Asian Studies
Lynne Rienner Publishers
Samuels, Richard J. "Kidnapping Politics in East Asia." Journal of East Asian Studies, 10.3 (2010): 363-395.
Author's final manuscript