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Political Violence

Standing Group

Established 2012 - Number of members: 290

Steering Committee Chair

  • Leena Malkki (University of Helsinki)

Steering Committee

  • David Maher (University of Salford)
  • Stefan Malthaner (Hamburg Institute for Social Research (HIS))
  • Raquel da Silva (Iscte - University Institute of Lisbon)
  • Eleanor Leah Williams (Cardiff University)
  • Lamprini Rori (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens)
  • Cátia Carvalho (University of Porto)
  • Deniz Kocak (Helmut-Schmidt-University/University of the Armed Forces Hamburg)
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The Standing Group on Political Violence provides a collaborative network and infrastructure for international junior and senior scholars working on aspects of political violence, including riots, guerrilla warfare, insurgency, terrorism, rebellion and civil wars. It particularly encourages comparative research and approaches that seek to understand political violence in terms of the wider political and geopolitical context in which actors are located. The group is methodologically plural and welcomes scholars whatever their theoretical or methodological orientations, also beyond the field of political science. Within the Standing Group on Political Violence, an ongoing exchange of ideas, research and discussion of current issues in the discipline is taking place.

Aims & Objectives

The aim of the Standing Group on Political Violence is to create new contacts and strengthen existing contacts between researchers studying political violence across disciplines and geographical regions as well as to further develop scientific research on the subject in Europe and globally. Within this network, an ongoing exchange of ideas, research and discussion of current issues in the discipline is expected to take place

Key areas of interest to the group include:

  • Mobilisation into Political Violence – What are the processes by which violent conflict begins and escalates? How and why do organisations and individuals initially become engaged in the use of violence for political ends?
  • The Politics of Violence – What difference does violence make to politics? How does it affect the nature of party competition and the character of political parties? How does it impact on state apparatuses and security forces? Decision-making on the kinds of violence to employ during a conflict; the path-dependent character of political violence. Intra-party disputes on the use of violence. Territory and violence.
  • Exits from Political Violence – Demobilisation, both individual and collective; negotiated settlement of violent conflicts.
  • Consequences of Political Violence – The political, social, economic and biographical impacts of political violence, both intended and unintended.


  • Creating a forum for junior and senior scholars working on political violence by organising Sections and Panels at the ECPR conferences (General Conferences, Joint Sessions and Graduate Student Conferences) and beyond, with some of the most distinguished scholars in the field. These Sections and Panels could also be ideal scenarios to set up a research agenda in one of the areas covered by the Standing Group;
  • Establishing and maintaining a mailing list to distribute event information and announcements on funding and publications and a blog providing information on current research on political violence. The blog will include online teaching materials, specialised bibliographies, access to working papers and a forum for discussion. The blog and mailing list will be integrated with social networking sites such as and Facebook;
  • After a period of consolidation, the Standing Group would consider the potential for organising periodic summer schools for graduate students interested in the broad field of political violence.