Two fingers and a fist
The recognition of armed non-state actors is a deeply ambivalent process. | Photo: Francis Alÿs, Children Game #14: Stone, Paper and Scissors, 2013. © F. Alÿs

The Tricky Politics of Recognizing Armed Non-State Actors

The new volume “Armed non-state actors and the politics of recognition” by editors Anna Geis, Maéva Clément, and Hanna Pfeifer discusses armed non-state actors and their strategic pursuit of being recognized as political actors. It includes methodological considerations as well as case studies from China, Ireland, Lebanon, Nigeria and, Sudan among others. The contributions study the strategic choices that state leaders, citizens, international organizations, and others make in granting such recognition, denying it, or recognizing on their own terms.


What should we call those who stormed the US Capitol on January 6 of this year? | Photo: flickr, Tyler Merbler | CC BY 2.0

The Capitol Rioters and their Supporters beyond “Us vs. Them”: A view from outside the US

What should we call those who stormed the US Capitol on January 6 of this year? Struggles over possible labels matter: What one calls a certain group has implications for the ways in which one can and will engage with them. The polarization of Americans when it comes to classifying the attacks is indicative of a larger dilemma: how should one respond to the rioters and their demands – and is that even an option?


The term "Islamism" is often inevitably associated with terrorism. | Photo: Unsplash/Marija Zaric | Free use

Who are these “Islamists” everyone talks about?! Why academic struggles over words matter

Politicians, the media, and social media users alike have framed recent attacks in Europe as instances of “Islamist” violence. The current debate often remains superficial and uses the umbrella term of “Islamism” to describe a diverse spectrum of actors, ideologies, and activities. Notably, conflating Salafi jihadism with other manifestations of Islamism risks consolidating a unified enemy image of “the Islamists” – or, even worse, Islam. This blogpost aims at disentangling these labels, in particular pointing out two discursive pitfalls: the securitisation of Islam and Muslim communities, and the equation of Islamism with terrorism.