ISIL As a Transnational Social Movement

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 11:00
Location: Hörsaal 26 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Jeffrey GOODWIN, New York University, USA
When studying recent social movements, scholars have tended to focus on participatory, pro-democratic, and potentially emancipatory movements to the neglect of authoritarian, exclusive, and anti-democratic movements which have nonetheless become very large and powerful in the new millennium. Perhaps no recent social movement has been as powerful as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) or simply the Islamic State. ISIL claims to have 100,000 armed fighters and many more supporters. The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency estimates that 30,000 foreigners have traveled to the region to join ISIL, including Europeans and North Americans. ISIL operates transnationally, in both Iraq and Syria, and groups affiliated with ISIL, if only ideologically, operate in several other countries, with as many as 57,000 total members. Most significantly, ISIL today controls extensive territory in both Iraq and Syria and is the effective government or state in these territories, which are home to millions of people. This paper examines the sources and limits of ISIL’s popularity. What combination of grievances, hopes, and fears have led so many people to support ISIL? And does ISIL have the capacity for further growth?