Abstract: Why do ordinary people take extraordinary risks and join and an armed movement? The paper seeks to understand why individuals risk their lives and join an armed rebellion when avenues for lower risk political activism are abundant. The paper focuses on the Kurdish insurgency in Turkey. Explanations focusing on selective material inducements, state repression, preexisting social networks, and emotional motivations fail to provide satisfactory explanations of the sustainability of Kurdish insurgent recruitment. The paper develops a theoretical synthesis arguing that increased opportunities for low risk political activism may actually facilitate high risk political behavior. It is based on an original dataset that includes biographical information for around 8,000 militants as well as fieldwork involving dozens of in-depth interviews.
Dr. Güneş Murat Tezcür is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Loyola University Chicago. He has received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2005. His research on democratization, political violence, Muslim political attitudes, judicial activism, and electoral politics have appeared in a dozen of scholarly journals in the last six years. He is also the author of “Muslim Reformers in Iran and Turkey: “The Paradox of Moderation “(2010). His current project examines the conditions under which ordinary people take extraordinary risks and join insurgent movements.
P.S.: The seminar will be held in English.