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Armed Groups’ Institutionalisation Processes: The Case Study of Ahrar al-Sham in Syria

English title Armed Groups’ Institutionalisation Processes: The Case Study of Ahrar al-Sham in Syria
Applicant Drevon Jérôme
Number 171443
Funding scheme Advanced Postdoc.Mobility
Research institution Dept of Politics and International Relations University of Oxford
Institution of higher education Institution abroad - IACH
Main discipline Political science
Start/End 01.01.2017 - 30.06.2018
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Keywords (5)

Syria; historical institutionalism; civil wars; Islamist movements; armed groups

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
ChapeauL’institutionnalisation des groupes armés non-étatiques insurrectionnels est centrale à l’étude de leurs développements. Cette approche permet d’analyser la construction de leurs approches tactiques et stratégiques à la violence ainsi que leurs relations avec les groupes actifs dans le même conflit et avec la population. De plus, cet axe d’étude met en exergue le rôle respectif joué par les facteurs matériels et idéationel dans l’évolution des groupes armés.
Lay summary
Contenu et objectifs du travail de recherche

Cette recherche examine les processus qui ont contribué à l’institutionnalisation du groupe armé ahrar al-sham al-islamiyya durant la guerre civile syrienne. Ce concept se réfère à la formalisation de normes, procédures, et convention dans la structure organisationnelle de ce groupe. L’étude des réseaux constitués par ce groupe avant et durant la guerre, de la structure de ses communautés locales, de ses développement institutionnelles et débats idéologiques permettra de tracer l’institutionnalisation graduelle de ce groupe durant les premières années de guerre civile.

Contexte scientifique et social du projet de recherche

Ce projet contribue à l’étude de l’émergence de groupes armés pendant les guerres civiles, à leurs structures de gouvernance préliminaires, et à l’interaction de la consolidation de leurs structures organisationnelles en parallèle à l’émergence de normes idéationelles partagées.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 10.12.2016

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Publications

Publication
The Jihadi Social Movement: Between Internal Hegemonic Drive, Local Realities, and Transnational Aspirations,
Drevon Jérôme (2017), The Jihadi Social Movement: Between Internal Hegemonic Drive, Local Realities, and Transnational Aspirations,, in Perspectives on Terrorism, 11(6), 55-62.
Ahrar al-Sham’s Politicisation during the Syrian Conflict
Drevon Jérôme, Ahrar al-Sham’s Politicisation during the Syrian Conflict, in Bano Masooda (ed.), Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Uppsala Universitet Sweden (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Berghof foundation Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
A discussion of MENA and conflicts Talk given at a conference Institutionalising armed violence in civil wars 21.05.2018 Oxford, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Drevon Jérôme;
ISA Annual meeting Talk given at a conference The Introduction of Salafi Jihadi Ideology into Civil Wars: Rationales, Consequences, and Regula- tions 03.04.2018 San Francisco, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Drevon Jérôme;
Ideas and Political Violence Seminars Individual talk How Does Salafi Jihadi Ideology Matter in Multiparty Civil Wars? Advantages, Costs, and Regulation 15.02.2018 Oxford, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Drevon Jérôme;
Re-thinking Nationalism, Sectarianism, and Ethno-Religious Mobilisation in the Mid- dle East Talk given at a conference The Local Global Jihad Explaining Sub-National Pattern in Salafi Jihadi Mobilization 26.01.2018 Oxford, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Drevon Jérôme;
Conflict Research Society Annual Conference Talk given at a conference The Introduction of Salafi Jihadi Ideology into Civil Wars: Rationales, Consequences, and Regula- tions 18.09.2017 Oxford, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Drevon Jérôme;
Social Movements and Contentious Politics in the Arab world since 2011 in a Global Per- spective: Diffusion, Practices, Organizations and Political Dimensions Talk given at a conference The Introduction of Salafi Jihadi Ideology into Civil Wars: Rationales, Consequences, and Regulations 27.04.2017 Paris, France Drevon Jérôme;
Fifth Global International Studies Conference Talk given at a conference Conceptualising Salafi Jihadi Meso-Level Networking Structures 01.04.2017 Taipei, Taiwan Drevon Jérôme;
Conflict and Resistance Ethics: Towards a critical understanding of jihad and just war Talk given at a conference Jihad between Theology and Politics 18.03.2017 Doha, Qatar Drevon Jérôme;
ISA Annual meeting Talk given at a conference Social networks and immersive fieldwork: Innovations in the study of movements and militants 21.02.2017 Baltimore, United States of America Drevon Jérôme;
Reintegrating Foreign Fighters: ‘Deradicalisation’ and Desistance Talk given at a conference Foreign fighters from Egypt 26.01.2017 Lancaster, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Drevon Jérôme;


Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Foreign & Commonwealth Office, workshop on “HTS and AQ in Syria” Talk 01.05.2018 Londres, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Drevon Jérôme;
Berghof Foundation, Advisory Board meeting Talk 19.01.2018 Berlin, Germany Drevon Jérôme;
Center of Excellence for National Security, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies of the Nanyang Technological University Talk 28.09.2017 Singapoure, Singapore Drevon Jérôme;
Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Talk 04.09.2017 Oslo, Norway Drevon Jérôme;


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
177722 Armed Groups’ Institutionalisation in Civil Wars: The Case Study of Ahrar al-Sham in Syria 01.07.2018 Return CH Advanced Postdoc.Mobility

Abstract

This research project aims to theorise armed groups’ institutionalisation processes in the intensive case study of the main Syrian armed opposition group, Ahrar al-Sham al-Islamiyya (AS thereafter), in Syria. Through primary sources and extensive field research and interviews in Turkey, this research will examine AS’s multi-layered war and pre-war networks, local communities, organisational and institutional developments, ideological debates, and learning processes. A historical institutionalism theoretical framework will synthesise these factors to analyse the materialisation of shared multifaceted ideational norms within AS’s organisational structures. This project accordingly seeks to refine three interrelated themes of the organisational turn recently taken by civil war studies: (1) the interplay between ideational and material factors accounting for armed groups’ evolution; (2) the consequences of several ideational factors on armed groups’ broader organisational dynamics; and (3) the constraints and opportunities inherent with armed groups’ meso-level modes of organisations. This project’s main contribution to these three themes is the analysis of the construction and influence of armed groups’ institutional frameworks beyond the prevailing reliance on rational choice paradigms and sole focus on their ideologies.
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