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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

14/09/2018

Andrea Pirro appointed as new editor of East European Politics

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Andrea Pirro has been recently appointed as new editor of the journal East European Politics published by Taylor and Francis.

31/08/2018

Volkswagen foundation Grant 2018 for Manuela Caiani

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Manuela Caiani has been awarded the Volkswagen Grant 2018 for the research project Popular Music as a Medium for the Mainstreaming of Populist Ideologies in Europe, that will be directed by Mario Dunkel (University Carl von Ossietzky of Oldenburg, Germany).

30/07/2018

ERC Starting Grant 2018 for Alice Mattoni

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Alice Mattoni, Research Fellow at COSMOS and Assistant Professor at the Department of Political and Social Sciences of the Scuola Normale Superiore, has been awarded the ERC Starting Grant 2018 for the research project BIT-ACT: Bottom-up initiative and anti-corruption technologies: how citizens use ICTs to fight corruption.

Publications

Journal Article - 2018

New Technologies as a Neglected Social Movement Outcome: The Case of Activism against Animal Experimentation

Manès Weisskircher
Based on novel empirical research, this paper analyzes a crucial and understudied case of a movement pushing for new technologies: the animal rights movement and its efforts to push for alternatives to animal experimentation.

Journal Article - 2018

Mobilizing in transnational contentious spaces: linking relations, emotions and space in migrant activism

Elias Steinhilper
The article illustrates how the transnational spaces most migrants inhabit can be politicized and transformed into particular social formations, for which the term ‘transnational contentious spaces’ is suggested.