Competing to Govern: Opportunities and regime responsiveness to civilian protests during the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan. 2023, in: Rebel Governance in the Middle East. Link.

About this chapter

This paper draws from research on protests under rebel governance and during the international intervention in Afghanistan (2001-2021) to argue that civilians continuously articulated interests and pressured both rebels and government. Rather than conceptualizing the conflict between state building and state failure, it can be read as a competition to govern. In mediating rural conflicts and building relationships even with constituencies which resented their rule, the Taliban out-governed the government, accommodating protesters where possible and repressing them where they challenged military gains. This process hollowed the Republic’s support base. Afghan protest movements against the new government thus face a novel situation: Less fragmented, more nationally connected and addressing a less insulated government which may prove responsive to their grievances, yet facing more repression and state violence which may intimidate activists.

Reviewed Paper

Exploring transterranean activism as a research site beyond local protest sites. 2023, in: Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space. Link.


Increased interest in the spatial dimension of protests and activism has led to both the material spatial condition of protest activities and their spatial effect entering academic debate. With Social Movements being a dominant paradigm for activism which focuses on strategic localization and scalar tactics, an emphasis has been put on political activities in proximity to either centralized power or to actor communities and networks. On the fringes of Social Movements, however, smaller types of direct action have been emerging in places outside of conventional, landed spaces. Chinese and Japanese nationalists symbolically contesting national authority over islands in the Pacific, Environmentalists blockading oil platforms in the North Sea, refugee rights groups preventing air-based deportations and nationalists attempting to prevent human rights groups from saving drowning migrants have in common that the site of their activities are beyond the traditional power base of the state on solid ground and make use of specific sets of laws and regulations. This paper argues that transterranean spaces encompass an interplay of state and non-state actors heavily impacted by their location. As these spaces exist beyond the mainland, they share a lack of presence of both state and society. Both state agencies and activists have to adapt their strategies during successive contentions. I conceptualize this relationship as contentious configurations shaping these interactions: Vertical Activist-State, horizontal activist-activist and interconnected state-state contentious configurations. They serve as heuristic tool to analyze protest dynamics in transterranean spaces by highlighting both state power and actor’s engagement with it. With technological advancements and increased access to transterranean, such contentions are likely to increase.


Autoritäre Interessenaushandlung: Wie Iraner*innen Politik innerhalb autoritärer Rahmenbedingungen gestalten. 2022, erschienen bei Springer. Link.

About this book

Wie können Menschen in autoritären, exkludierenden Rahmenbedingungen eigene politische Interessen artikulieren? Dieser Frage ging der Autor in drei Forschungsaufenthalten im Iran zwischen 2017 und 2018 nach. Im Ergebnis sind sowohl autoritärer Herrschaft inhärente partizipative Mechanismen als auch von marginalisierten Akteuren erzeugte alternative Artikulationsformen erkennbar, zwischen denen strategisch gewechselt wird. Während staatliche Akteure gezielt von ihnen steuerbare Kanäle und Formen forcieren, maximieren nicht-staatliche Akteure zum einen ihre unmittelbare Artikulation und zum anderen ihre langfristigen Kapazitäten, sich am politischen Prozess zu beteiligen und Repressionen zu widerstehen. In der Konklusion sieht diese Arbeit eine wechselseitige Dynamik staatlicher Steuerung und gesellschaftlicher Herausforderung ebendieser, welche durch die Krisen des Irans insbesondere in den vergangenen Jahren zu einer Zuspitzung von Konflikten und lagerübergreifenden Bündnissen führten. Diese lassen noch keine endgültige Entscheidung dieser Konfrontation erkennen, da keine Seite sie abschließend für sich entscheiden kann, deuten aber eine zunehmende Eskalation in den kommenden Jahren an.