Research Overview

My name is Mark Youngman and I am a doctoral researcher at the University of Birmingham (UK), exploring the relationship between ideology and organised political violence.

I focus on the North Caucasus insurgency that operated under the banner of the Caucasus Emirate between 2007 and 2015. Using Social Movement Theory, I’m analysing how insurgent leaders have framed the conflict – what they claim to be fighting for and against, and how they seek to mobilise others behind their proposed solutions – and how this framing relates to changes both inside groups and in the environment in which they operate.

This research seeks to contribute to our understandings of the significance of ideological change using a case study outside of the Arabic-speaking milieu that is the primary focus of research on jihadist groups. I am seeking to develop a more detailed understanding of the role of ideology in political violence, and of what we can learn from insurgent leadership statements.

My broad research interests cover:

  • Terrorism, insurgency, and other forms of political violence;
  • Ideology and political beliefs;
  • Social movement theory;
  • Leadership;
  • Russia and the North Caucasus;
  • Turkey;
  • Field research, particularly in conflict zones;
  • Qualitative research methodologies;
  • Gender;
  • Religion.
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