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My Research

Presentation Warwick

Presenting my research at a conference in the UK

Holding a Bachelor in Social and Cultural Sciences (Kulturwissenschaften) and an MSc in Comparative Politics / Conflict Studies, I am interested in both socio-cultural and political phenomena. My PhD project was situated in the field of politics and international studies and, more specifically, conflict studies. I am currently revising my PhD thesis into a monograph.

Current main research interests

  • Non-state political violence
  • Women and war, conflict, (counter)terrorism, (counter)extremism
  • Female combatants in non-state armed political groups (e.g. IS, Al-Qaeda and Lebanese and Palestinian militias involved in the Lebanese civil war)
  • Decision-making in non-state violent political groups
  • Conflict(s) in the Middle East (and the Lebanese civil war (1975 - 1990) in particular)

Other research interests

  • Migration, integration and diversity

  • Intercultural relations
  • Islam and Muslims in "the West"
  • Counterextremism, counterterrorism
  • Conflict(s) in Southeastern Europe and South Asia.

Crossing the Mediterranean by Boat

In 2016, I supported the ESRC-funded research project Crossing the Mediterranean by Boat as a Research Assistant. The project, which is led by Prof. Dr. Vicki Squire, aims at mapping and documenting the journeys and experiences of migrants and refugees crossing the Mediterranean. It produces an evidence base as grounds for informing policy interventions developed under emergency conditions across the Mediterranean. The focus lies on assessing the impact of such interventions on those most directly affected by them, migrants and refugees themselves.

PhD project: Female combatants, non-state political violence and organisational decision-making

What role do women play in armed conflict and political violence? Much of the literature and, indeed, many practitioners working on the topic, let alone the wider public, focus on the role of women either as victims of violent conflict or as (potential) actors for positive change. However, women have been involved as fighters in violent conflicts all over the world. Indeed, the number of women assuming combat roles both in state militaries and in non-state armed organisations is on the rise.

My PhD research focused on the role of female fighters in non-state armed groups. It looked at the question of why some of the Lebanese and Palestinian non-state armed organisations ("militias") involved in the Lebanese civil war (1975 – 1990) employed female combatants whereas others didn’t. Comparing a number of different militias, I highlighted the organisational motivations that led to the inclusion of female fighters in some of these groups but not in others. In my analysis, I took into account individual motivations, organisational characteristics and contextual pressures including the security context and societal factors.

The findings of my research are based on several months of fieldwork in Lebanon in 2015/16 during which I conducted interviews with 69 former male and female fighters, party members, researchers, journalists and NGO representatives. I am currently revising my PhD thesis into a monograph, which is contracted with Palgrave.


A pictorial on former fighters in the Lebanese Civil War and their post-war lives

Photos: private