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The Centre on Social Movement Studies

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PKK Violence against Civilians: Beyond the Individual Understanding Collective Targeting

Juan Masullo and Francis O’Connor

This article examines the logic of civilian targeting in the Turkish-Kurdish civil war. It analyzes two instances of PKK violence: against pro-state Village Guards’ families in the 1980s and school-teachers in the 1990s.

Type: Journal Article
Year: 2017

This article examines the logic of civilian targeting in the Turkish-Kurdish civil war. It analyzes two instances of PKK violence: against pro-state Village Guards’ families in the 1980s and school-teachers in the 1990s. Against original data, we evaluate the extent to which the dominant conceptual tools available in civil war literature help us make sense of these instances and argue that there is a need to go beyond the established selective/indiscriminate distinction if we want to capture the logic of PKK’s targeting. Consequently, we build on and specify further recent conceptual developments in the field and show that both cases are better understood as instances of collective targeting. We further show, however, that the collective nature of each differs in relevant ways: while the killing of the families of Village Guards constitutes an instance of collective targeting in the sense of “extended group association,” in the case of school teachers there are indications of a secondary spatially differentiated selection criteria accompanying the collective logic. Our analysis emphasizes the field’s need for stronger conceptual foundations underpinning our theories of violence against civilians, as well as the limitations of understandings rooted in an “ontological individualism” when applied without careful consideration to non-Western societies.

Masullo J., O'Connor F. (2017) 'PKK Violence against Civilians: Beyond the Individual Understanding Collective Targeting', Terrorism and Political Violence, Taylor and Francis Online, London, pages 1-23, DOI: 10.1080/095

http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09546553.2017.1347874

News

19/12/2017

10 Fully funded 4-years PhD positions in Political Science and Sociology, for the AA. 2018/2019, Scuola Normale Superiore

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The grant is for 4 years. it is open to students of all nationalities. Coverage of research expenses (conferences, summer schools, research periods abroads) is provided.

13/12/2017

Call for Paper: Conference “1968-2018, fifty years after: Where is the social movements field going?”

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Taking the 1968 anniversary as a stimulating moment for reflection, this conference seeks to provide space for looking at the implications of that period on social movement research as well as addressing a number of key questions in current social movement research.

04/12/2017

Martin Portos Garcia wins the ISA's Seventh Worldwide Competition for Junior Sociologists

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The International Sociological Association has just announced the list of the winners of the Seventh Worldwide Competition for Junior Sociologists engaged in social research, amongst which Martin Portos Garcia - post-doc fellow at COSMOS

Publications

Journal Article - 2017

Repertoires of knowledge practices: Social movements in times of crisis

Donatella della Porta and Elena Pavan
Starting from the assumption that knowledge becomes all the more important for movements in times of crisis, as old structures are challenged and new ones envisaged and proved feasible, the purpose of this paper is to suggest ways to expand the toolkit of social movement studies in order to empirically address knowledge practices as a meaningful part of contemporary progressive activism.

Journal Article - 2017

Keeping dissent alive under the Great Recession: no-radicalisation and protest in Spain after the eventful 15M/indignados campaign

Martín Portos
Traditional theories of collective action would predict that, after a triggering event, the trajectory of a wave of protest is determined by the institutionalisation–radicalisation tandem. Based on the Spanish cycle of anti-austerity and against the political status quo protest in the shadow of the Great Recession, this article contends with this approach, as a clear trend towards radicalisation is never observed as the cycle unfolds. An alternative interpretative framework is developed to understand protest trajectories when collaborative inter-organisational strategies prevail.