Welcome to the blog of the European Consortium for Political Research Standing Group on Political Violence. In this blog you will find timely articles and commentary, research news, job opportunities and other information relevant to scholars with an interest in understanding political violence.

Call for paper

Italy Facing Terrorism: Political Parties, Institutions, Society, and Public Opinion (1969-1988)

First SISSCO Research Seminar University of Padua, 1-2 March 2017– deadline 16 October 2016 Italian Political Parties Facing Terrorism (1969-1988)

The Organizing Committee invites paper proposals for the first of four seminars that will take place between 2017 and 2018, every six months. The seminar cycle seeks to contribute to a better understanding of the years between 1969 and 1988 – a crucial period of Italian history – by analyzing the way through which political parties, institutions, society, and public opinion faced terrorism. Examining how Italians lived under the terrorist threat, reacted against it, and framed such phenomenon, the proposed seminars will complement an already rich stream of literature that, conversely, focused on terrorist actors and organizations. Adopting this perspective, the seminars aim at shedding light on some key questions related to the history of that period. They include, but they are not limited to, the consensus that terrorism enjoyed, the state legitimacy among citizens, the impact of terrorism on institutional dynamics, the social perception of both terrorism and counter-terrorism, the effectiveness of the institutional reaction against terrorism, the state respect of civil rights in countering terrorism, the level of understanding of terrorist threat within institutions and political parties, the repercussions of terrorism on political system, civil society, economy, and intellectual debates. Overall, the seminars expect to achieve a wide-ranging reconstruction of the multiple reactions to terrorism, which highlights historical continuities and discontinuities. In order to complete the whole picture, the seminars will also take into consideration the perception of Italy from abroad. Finally, Italian experience will be compared with other countries’ experiences in dealing with terrorism (e.g., the German Federal Republic, the United Kingdom, Spain, and France). The first SISSCO Seminar will be held at the University of Padua, on March, 1-2, 2017. Italian political parties’ attitudes, roles, points of view, and reactions vis-à-vis stragismo, subversive plots, right-wing and left-wing terrorism will be under scrutiny, together with their impact on society and institutions. The Organizing Committee encourages studies that also examine minor political parties. The Organizing Committee invites scholars of different disciplines interested in the topic to propose papers on Italian political parties’ attitudes, roles, points of view, and reactions in front of: – stragismo and subversive plots against Italian Republic; – origin, development, and social consensus of left-wing armed struggle; – the main political changes of the period (e.g., the crisis of center-left governments, the 1974 referendum, the 1975 and 1976 elections, the governments of national solidarity, the end of the Christian-democratic centrality); – the dangers of right-wing terrorism; – the emergency legislation; – he exit strategies from terrorism.

HOW TO PROPOSE A PAPER Please send by email a single document (PDF or Word) to seminarioitaliaterrorismo@gmail.com by October 16, 2016, 17:00 (GMT+1), including: – Name, Last Name, and academic affiliation. – A max. 3.000 characters abstract (in Italian or English) – A 1 page max. CV. Please indicate your current email address for correspondence. Papers will be selected by October 31, 2016. The Organizing Team will directly contact all selected participants.

PLACE University of Padua, Italy – Department of Historical and Geographic Sciences and the Ancient World DATE 1-2 March, 2017 LANGUAGES Italian and English

SCIENTIFIC COORDINATORS G.M. Ceci, G. Panvini SCIENTIFIC ORGANIZING COMMITTEE P. Acanfora, L. Bosi, R. Brizzi, R. Colozza, L. Falciola, L. Fasanaro, V. Lomellini, M. Marchi, E. Taviani

SCIENTIFIC BOARD S. Colarizi, D. della Porta, G. Formigoni, C. Fumian, M. Lazar, P. Mattera, R. Moro, L. Nuti, S. Neri Serneri, P. Pombeni, E. Rey, P. Terhoeven, A. Varsori, A. Ventrone, V. Vidotto

ORGANIZING SCIENTIFIC TEAM for the Padua Seminar G.M. Ceci, V. Lomellini, G. Panvini, C. Zampieri

P005 A Socio-Spatial Relational Approach to Political Violence

Time 08/09/2016 09:00


Building: Faculty of Arts Floor: 4 Room: FA429

Chair: Lorenzo Bosi, Scuola Normale Superiore

Co-Chair: Stefan Malthaner, Aarhus University


1) Niall and Hussey

Territoriality and Political Violence


2) Lloyd

Theorising Insurgent Violence


3) Bosi

Explaining the shifting forms of political violence


4) Voronkova

Violent struggles for territorial control


5) Bjorgo

Vigilante groups in the Nordic countries



P017 Author Meets Critics Panel on “The Dynamics of Radicalization” by Alimi, Demetriou & Bosi (Oxford UP, 2015)


08/09/2016 11:00


Building: Faculty of Arts Floor: 4 Room: FA429

Chair: Mario Diani, Universita’ degli Studi di Trento

Discussants Patricia Stehinoff and Richard Jackson.



P047 Civilian Agency in anti-Civilian violence

Chair: Francis O’Connor – COSMOS


08/09/2016 15:50


Building: Faculty of Arts Floor: 4 Room: FA429


1) Stefan Malthaner

Civilian agency in civil war: examples from three village communities during the internal violent conflict in Peru, 1980-1999


2) Marilena Simiti

Public Readings of Urban Riots: Comparing the English riots of 2011 to the Greek December of 2008


3) Francis O Connor

The Emergence of Communal Violence in Turkey


4) Georg Plattner

Fear of a “Third Intifadah”


5) Nicholas Rush Smith

Criminal Pasts and Political Futures



P153 Gender, Violence and Conflict: Intersections of the Private and the Political


09/09/2016 09:00


Building: Faculty of Arts Floor: 4 Room: FA429

Chair: Stacey Scriver, National University of Ireland, Galway

Co-Chair: Jennifer McCleary-Sills, International Centre for Research on Women, Washington DC


1)  Florian Edelman.

Greetings and kisses from the Red Zora’: Developments and implications of combatant radical Feminism in Germany between 1975 and 1993.

2) Jesica Doyle.

Transforming responses to domestic violence in a politically contested environment: The case of Northern Ireland.



3) Carol Ballantine and Nata Duvvury.

Violence, Conflict and Social Cohesion: Links between Political Violence and Gender Based Violence.



P154 Women on the frontlines: Political process, protest and violence


09/09/2016 11:00


Building: Faculty of Arts Floor: 4 Room: FA429

Chair: Stacey Scriver, National University of Ireland, Galway

Co-Chair: Jennifer McCleary-Sills, International Centre for Research on Women, Washington DC

1) Alba Zalur and Maria Eduardo Ota

Gender, Race, Poverty and Political Violence



2) Sandra Pepera.

What’s theory got to do with it? The making of a call to action.


3) Jessica Huber.

Violence against women in elections.


4) Sevil Cakir-Kilincoglu

Women in Radical Left in Iran and Turkey during the 1970s



P203 Intervention, lIIntervention, legitimacy and repression


09/09/2016 14:00


Building: Faculty of Arts Floor: 4 Room: FA429

Chair: Lorenzo Bosi

Discussant: Niall O Dochartaigh


1.Tua Sandman: The Policy on Force Revisited


  1. Izadora Xavier do Monte: The cordial peacekeeper: masculinty and identity-construction in the case of Brazilian military in MINUSTAH


  1. Kristina Hook: The Politics of Never Again: Analytically Quantifying and Politically Qualifying Genocide in International Politics


  1. Odysseas Christou: New Data on Old Conflicts: Internal and External Legitimacy of Political Violence in the Case of the Greek Cypriot Organization EOKA (1955-1959)



P252 Narratives on Violent Groups: Reconciling the Contentious Politics and Interactionist Paradigms?


09/09/2016 17:40


Building: Faculty of Arts Floor: 4 Room: FA429

Chair: Marie-Christine Doran, University of Ottawa

Co-Chair: M. A. Adib Bencherif, University of Ottawa


1) Tijen Demirel-Pegg

Dynamics of the 2013 Gezi Park Protests in Turkey


2) Caroling Goerzig

The Momentum of Change – Short- versus Long-Term “Learning” of Terrorist Groups as a Result of Mergers with other Terrorist Organizations


3) Adib Bencherif

Time representations and practices: Interpreting the multiple temporalities of the Malian rebellions


4) Patricia Steinhoff and Gilda Zwerman

Accidental Escalation: Missing Mechanism or a Challenge to the Model?


5) Clara Egger

« Anti-governmental NGOs » Grasping the political meaning of violent actions targeting humanitarian actors



P253 Narratives on Violent Groups: Reconciling the Contentious Politics and Interactionist Paradigms?


10/9/2016 09:00


Building: Faculty of Arts Floor: 4 Room: FA429

Chair: Marie-Christine Doran, University of Ottawa

Co-Chair: M. A. Adib Bencherif, University of Ottawa


1) Ivo Hernandez

Revisiting Laclau´s categories: Current muslim religious radicalization in Europe as a form of Populism


2) Michaerl Edinger

“New” Right-Wing Terrorism in Germany? The Nationalsozialistischer Untergrund (NSU) in a Comparative Framework


3) Marie-Christine Doran

Interpreting Political Violence “from Below”: Indigenous People and Political Imaginaries in Zones of Violent Conflict in Mexico and Chile



P319 Political Violence, Media and the Information Age


10/09/2016 14:00


Building: Faculty of Arts Floor: 4 Room: FA429

Chair: Niall Ó Dochartaigh, National University of Ireland Galway

Co-chair: Sarah Marsden, Lancaster University


1) Miriam Muller

Violence and Worship: The “sacralization of violence” in the “Islamic State’s” Online Campaign


2) Maja Henke

Competing for Influence: The Dynamics of Information Output between State and Non-State Actors


3) Joost Augusteijn

The role of the terrorist constituency in state-terrorist conflict. The case of the Irish hunger-strikers


5) Fabrizio Dal vera

 Framing Violence: Transnational Discourses and Collective Identities during the late 1960s and 1970s in Germany, Italy, and US


P347 Putting the Political back into Political Violence


10/09/2016 11:00


Building: Faculty of Arts Floor: 4 Room: FA429

Chair: Tim Jacoby, University of Manchester

Co-Chair: Richard Jackson


1) Ofir Abu

When Political Control Declines: Explaining Local Variations in State Repression of Arab Protest in Israel, 1990-2000


2) Raquel da Silva

Political violent activism in times of social turmoil: the life stories of former clandestine militants in Portugal


3) Sara Meger

Gender and the ‘New Imperialism’: A Feminist Political Economy Theory of War and Political Violence


4) Jemina Repo

What makes an act of violence “political”?


5) Costas Laoutides

Separatism and the hegemonic aspects of political violence: structural and intersubjective readings



P359 Reinterpreting Political Violence in History


10/09/2016 16:00


Building: Faculty of Arts Floor: 4 Room: FA429

Chair: Leena Malkki, University of Helsinki

Co-chair: Florian Edelmann, Aberystwyth University


1) Leena Malkki

A case for (more) historical research on terrorism


2) Yannick Veilleux-Lepage

An Evolutionary Approach to Techniques of Political Violence


3) Sarah Marsden

Understanding Reintegration Experiences through the Life Histories of Former Jihadists


4) Sebastien Parker,

‘Interpreting the Years of Lead: Narratives on Left-wing and Right-wing Violence in Italy’.



P379 Right-wing extremist hatred and violence in Europe


10/09/2016 16:00


Building: Faculty of Arts Room: FA429

Chair: Tore Bjorgo, Universitetet I Oslo


1) Katrine Fangan

Norwegian Bureaucrats on the Topic of Right-Wing Extremism: A Narrative Analysis


2) Cathrine Thorleifsson

Overheating hatreds: local responses to forced migration in Hungary


3) Johannes Enstad

Right-Wing Violence and Terrorism in Post-Soviet Russia: An Extreme Case


4) Jacob Ravndal

Right-wing terrorism and violence in Western Europe after 1990: A Qualitative Comparative Analysis

It might be of interest to many SG members the discussion that is taking place in the Blog Mobilizing Ideas: https://mobilizingideas.wordpress.com/category/essay-dialogues/.


Civil Wars and Contentious Politics
In a 2007 review piece for Perspective in Politics, Sid Tarrow identified the need for studies of civil wars to consider the broader context of political contention, and indeed social movements. We have asked our contributors to consider this intersection of topics. While civil wars may be a special case of political conflict, players often have a multitude of relations or connections to non-violent movements and groups. One primary example of this is the civil war in Syria, and the emergence of ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Mobilizing Ideas has asked contributors to consider the gap between studies on civil wars and terrorism, and that of contentious politics and social movements. Focal topics include terrorism, the onset and cessation of violence, political and ethnic violence, repression, and rebellion.

CfP, volume on violence

Call for Papers
Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change, Volume 41

Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change, a peer-reviewed volume published by Emerald Group Publishing, is inviting submissions for Volume 41 of the series.

This RSMCC volume has a special focus on non-state actors and political conflicts but it will also attend to the broader themes of the series. Volume editor Julie Mazzei (Kent State University) welcomes submissions that fall within one of two areas: (1) research focused on the roles and motivations of non-state actors in conflicts or post-conflict situations in the post-Cold War era; or (2) research generally relevant to understanding the dynamics of social movements, conflicts, or change. We are particularly interested in research focusing on the motivations and interests of non-state violent actors (NSVAs) in the post-Cold War era; the role of identity and/or ideology in the conflicts or resolutions of so-called “new wars;” the impact of NSVAs in conflict and/or peace-making; and the ways in which IGOs and NGOs interact with NSVAs in conflicts or post-conflict zones.

RSMCC boasts quick turn-around times, generally communicating peer review-informed decisions within 10-12 weeks.

Submission guidelines
To be considered for inclusion in Volume 41, papers should arrive by May 16, 2016. Earlier submissions are welcomed and encouraged.

• Send submissions as a WORD or PAGES document attached to an email with the subject line“RSMCC” to Julie Mazzei, guest RSMCC editor for Volume 41, at jmazzei@kent.edu.
• Include a title page, which should include full contact information for all authors.
• Remove all self-references (in text and in bibliography) except for on the title page.
• Include the paper’s title and the unstructured abstract on the first page of the text itself.
• For initial submissions, any standard social science in-text citation and bibliographic system is acceptable.
• Submissions should be at most 10,000 words.
• In the initial submission, include tables, graphs, and illustrations in the body of the text.

For more information, please visit the RSMCC website:http://www.emeraldinsight.com/products/books/series.htm?id=0163-786X

11 Fully funded PhD positions in POLITICAL SCIENCE and SOCIOLOGY for the academic year 2016-2017.

Joint programme SCUOLA NORMALE SUPERIORE and UNIVERSITY of BOLOGNA. The programme focuses on the following three research areas:

1.Democracy and social movements;
2.Comparative/global public policy and international governance;
3.Comparative politics and society.

The grant is of 4 years. Full coverage of research expenses (conferences, summer schools, research periods abroads) is provided.
The Faculty is exclusively devoted to PhD teaching and supervision. The activities will be held at the seat of Florence of the Scuola Normale Superiore (Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences)

Detailed info here:

Deadlines for application: 11 March 2016 and 30 August 2016

Interpreting Political Violence

Section Chairs

Dr. Lorenzo Bosi, Scuola Normale Superiore

Dr. Niall Ó Dochartaigh, National University of Ireland Galway

This Section explores the cutting edge of new interpretive approaches to the study of political violence. Recent years have seen the introduction of several new interpretive approaches into this highly contested space, approaches that choose different places at which to draw the boundaries between war and terror, between politics and violence, and between ideology and interests. While different interpretations overlap much more than they did in the past, each has its own epistemological presumptions, methodological tendencies, and canonical truths. The Section will be structured to emphasize enduring and influential interpretations in the literature on political violence, while drawing attention to key, contemporary debates. This should serve as both a theoretical grounding and a map of the field, with the intention of highlighting exciting areas for further investigation.

Six Panels, listed below, have been selected from proposals by Standing Group members. The two additional Panels will give other scholars the opportunity to propose panels. 

You can now propose Panels (with a minimum of 3 Papers) and Papers through the ECPR website. The deadline for submissions is midnight UK time, Monday 15 February.

1. Narratives on Violent Groups: Reconciling the Contentious Politics and Interactionist Paradigms ?
Chair: Marie-Christine Doran, University of Ottawa
Co-Chair: M. A. Adib Bencherif, University of Ottawa

Research on political violence and radicalization in both the English and French-speaking worlds has recently seen the emergence of Social Movement Studies interpretations. However, one has been influenced by the contentious politics paradigm centered around contextualizing violence in order to understand the broader political processes, the reciprocal adaptations of the repertoires of action and the construction of collective identity. While the other has seen the emergence of the interactionist paradigm. While the contentious politics approach seeks to identify processes and dynamics that can help us explain causal links, the interactionist approach focuses on the sequences of actions in situ and is more attentive to the lived experiences of actors and their contingency. Our Panel seeks to engage a discussion surrounding these two approaches in the study of political violence and radicalization, in order to identify innovative ways to interpret these phenomena.

2. Reinterpreting Political Violence in History
Chair: Leena Malkki, University of Helsinki
Co-chair: Florian Edelmann, Aberystwyth University

Understanding the promises and challenges of historical research on political violence and the process of history-writing has not always been a strength of theoretical literature on political violence. While the literature on civil wars has stronger traditions on studying historical events, terrorism studies, on the other hand, is famous for its excessive focus on current events. This means in effect that the views on the historical terrorist campaigns tend to be based on hopelessly outdated information. The problem is strongly visible e.g. in how the terrorism literature remains largely untouched by the recent transnational turn in the “1960s literature”. This Panel welcomes Papers approaching political violence from the point of view of memory and history(writing), e.g. politics of memory, historiography, new interpretations of historical violent conflicts and methodological questions (e.g. use of oral history interviews and archival material).

3. Political Violence in the Information Age
Chair: Niall Ó Dochartaigh, National University of Ireland Galway
Co-chair: Sarah Marsden, Lancaster University

New information and communication technologies are working deep changes in patterns of political violence and the dynamics of civil war in the most directly material ways. This Panel welcomes Papers on all aspects of the relationship between new technologies and political violence, including papers on the way in which new technologies interact with temporal and spatial contexts, with ideology and with organisational structures. It also welcomes Papers that deal with the changing character of negotiation and mediation of political violence in the information age.

4. Civilian Agency in anti-Civilian violence
Chair: Francis O’Connor – COSMOS
Co-chair: Bahar Baser Coventry University

This Panel draws on the overlap between the literature on communal violence and on political violence. Recent work has focused on the strategic logic of insurgent targeting of civilians, emphasising competition for resources and territorial control. Arguably such approaches fail to account for civilian agency both as victims and perpetrators. This panel will address a number of key questions: How can we understand the status of civilians in instances of insurgent and communal violence? Are insurgent – civilian distinctions useful in disaggregating collective violence? At what point does civilian resistance to or participation in armed groups and militias render them no longer civilians? Under what conditions can civilian mobilisation prevent or inhibit violence against civilians?

5. A Socio-Spatial Relational Approach to Political Violence
Chair: Lorenzo Bosi, Scuola Normale Superiore
Co-Chair: Stefan Malthaner, Aarhus University

Armed groups, even clandestine ones, do not operate in isolation but are embedded in different forms of socio-spatial relationships that include interactions with broader movements, supportive milieus, and constituencies; notions of safe territories and territorial control, as well as economic exchange relations. This panel aims to explore how socio-spatial relations shape armed groups’ communication, information sharing, solidarity actions, networks coordination, and resource mobilization that enable and constrain their political and strategic options, including the resort to different violent repertoires, which, in turn, can re-configure the socio-spatial settings in which armed groups operate.

6. Gender, Inequality, and Political Violence
Chair: Stacey Scriver, National University of Ireland, Galway
Co-Chair: Jennifer McCleary-Sills, International Centre for Research on Women, Washington DC
This Panel welcomes both theoretical and empirically grounded Papers that consider political violence through a gendered lens. Areas of consideration include, but are not limited to: the relationship between violence in the private sphere and political violence; gender and political decision-making in contexts of conflict; intersections of political violence, gender and other forms of inequality (economic, ethno-nationalist, class, sexuality); masculinities and political violence; reconfigurations of political violence through a gendered perspective.

brave terrorists 4Condemnation is implicit in the word ‘Terrorist’. That much is widely recognised. But the term is so ubiquitous that even those who understand the difficulties find themselves obliged to use it. This is the case even if their principal purpose is to critique the field of terrorism studies and the concept, as critical terrorism studies does. Many who accept that the term is abused nonetheless argue that it gives us analytical purchase on certain kinds of violence and is useful to describe attacks whose goal is media coverage rather than military advantage, for example, or as a term for groups that seek to terrorise a civilian population rather than overcome a military opponent. But a search in Google Books’ Ngram viewer shows just how completely the condemnatory aspect of the term has overwhelmed the analytical. Ngram searches the millions of texts in Google Books for occurrences of certain phrases and the chart above shows the sharply rising usage in recent years of the most condemnatory adjectives in association with the word terrorist. References to ‘vicious terrorists’ and ‘cowardly terrorists’ have increased dramatically since the late 1990s but ‘evil terrorists’ has surged far ahead of them, as though cowardice and viciousness are not sufficiently damning accusations.

Untitled A search for ‘brave terrorists’ however, does not return a single result – from a collection of more than twelve million books. And yet there is no doubt that some of those who have been called terrorists were regarded as brave, even by some people who were broadly pro-western and pro-democratic in their orientation – in Mandate-era Palestine in the 1940s or Cyprus in the 1950s for example. Anyone who supports the use of violence that is dubbed terrorist is acutely aware of the condemnation inherent in the term. When they call people ‘brave’ they will of course avoid using a term that is so powerfully associated with evil, viciousness and cowardice. How much analytical value can remain then in a term that is virtually never given a positive valence? In this respect ‘terrorist’ may be the modern equivalent of ‘heretic’, an ostensibly analytical term whose precise meaning and boundaries are debated by the faithful, but one which is ideologically saturated and inherently negative. Governments and political actors of all kinds will continue to use the term ‘terrorist’ for those who oppose them with violence, and sometimes even for those who deploy civil disobedience. It resonates too powerfully to be abandoned as a rhetorical resource. And we will always need the terms terror, terrorise and other value-laden terms like war crime, atrocity and massacre to describe and condemn atrocious acts of violence. But given that the term has become virtually synonymous with evil, it might be useful for scholars of political violence to begin to think more systematically about how to do without ‘terrorist’ as an analytical category into which we slot people and groups.

Niall Ó Dochartaigh, National University of Ireland Galway, niallodoc.wordpress.com