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Publications (10 of 18) Show all publications
Nilsson, M. (2018). Causal Beliefs and War Termination: Religion and Rational Choice in the Iran-Iraq War. Journal of Peace Research, 55(1), 94-106
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Causal Beliefs and War Termination: Religion and Rational Choice in the Iran-Iraq War
2018 (English)In: Journal of Peace Research, ISSN 0022-3433, E-ISSN 1460-3578, Vol. 55, no 1, p. 94-106Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article analyzes the length of interstate wars and the process of reaching a mutually acceptable bargaining solution. Rational choice scholarship has mainly sought to explain long wars in terms of commitment problems and private information. This article complements these rational choice perspectives by arguing that causal beliefs—a variable not considered by previous research—can also prolong wars by increasing expectations of battlefield performance and slowing down information updating. The article illustrates the role of religiously based causal beliefs with the case of one of the longest interstate wars of modern time, the Iran-Iraq War of 1980–1988. Even though commitment problems were present, they do not identify the root cause of Iran’s high expected utility of continuing the war, as religiously based causal beliefs played a more prominent role in prolonging the war. Religious causal beliefs constitute a real word mechanism that not only creates different priors about expected military capacity, but also slows down the process of updating beliefs, as battlefield events are not seen as credible information. Although the prevalence of religious conflicts has increased ove r time, the formation of beliefs and their effects on wars remains understudied when applying rational choice to real world conflicts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2018
Keywords
causal beliefs, rational choice, religion, war duration, war termination
National Category
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-36413 (URN)10.1177/0022343317730120 (DOI)000419040800010 ()2-s2.0-85040078957 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2017-06-26 Created: 2017-06-26 Last updated: 2018-01-19Bibliographically approved
Nilsson, M. (2018). Hard and soft targets: the lethality of suicide terrorism. Journal of International Relations and Development, 21(1), 101-117
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Hard and soft targets: the lethality of suicide terrorism
2018 (English)In: Journal of International Relations and Development, ISSN 1408-6980, E-ISSN 1581-1980, Vol. 21, no 1, p. 101-117Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Many scholars have assumed that suicide terrorism is the most lethal form of terrorism. Increasing lethality is important for the terrorists’ expected ability to coerce target states and may explain the increasing popularity of suicide terrorism since the 1980s. This article analyses statistically the lethality of suicide terrorism and suicide bombings with 96,649 terror incidents in the Global Terrorism Database. The results corroborate the hypothesis that suicide terrorism inflicts more casualties than other terrorist tactics. However, suicide bombings are not associated with a greater increase in the casualty rates as compared with non-suicidal terrorist tactics involving, for example, the use of firearms. Moreover, neither suicide terrorism in general nor suicide bombings in particular are associated with an increase in the count of dead when there are many soft targets to choose from, such as in Palestine and Afghanistan. The lethality of suicide bombings is the greatest when there are many hard targets, such as in Israel.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Palgrave Macmillan, 2018
Keywords
lethality, suicide terrorism, terrorism
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-27647 (URN)10.1057/jird.2015.25 (DOI)000427776500005 ()2-s2.0-85041333934 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2015-08-03 Created: 2015-08-03 Last updated: 2018-07-18Bibliographically approved
Nilsson, M. (2018). Interviewing Jihadists: On the Importance of Drinking Tea and Other Methodological Considerations. Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 41(6), 419-432
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Interviewing Jihadists: On the Importance of Drinking Tea and Other Methodological Considerations
2018 (English)In: Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, ISSN 1057-610X, E-ISSN 1521-0731, Vol. 41, no 6, p. 419-432Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The field of terrorism research has arguably long been characterized by a separation of the scholars from their subject of inquiry. Interviews can be used to bridge this chasm, but making contact with potential interviewees, conducting interviews, and analyzing the data pose unique challenges when conducting research into jihadists, especially active ones. This article focuses on the author's experience of interviewing both former and active jihadi foreign fighters. It is specifically intended to contribute to a better methodological understanding of conducting first-hand empirical research into jihadi foreign fighters and builds on field work conducted in Sweden, Iraq, and Lebanon.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2018
Keywords
Foreign fighters, jihadists, research methods, interviews, ethnography
National Category
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-35442 (URN)10.1080/1057610X.2017.1325649 (DOI)000429339400001 ()2-s2.0-85020176674 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2017-05-03 Created: 2017-05-03 Last updated: 2018-07-23Bibliographically approved
Nilsson, M. (2018). Kurdish Women in the Kurdish-Turkish Conflict: Perceptions, Experiences, and Strategies. Middle Eastern Studies, 54(4), 638-651
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Kurdish Women in the Kurdish-Turkish Conflict: Perceptions, Experiences, and Strategies
2018 (English)In: Middle Eastern Studies, ISSN 0026-3206, E-ISSN 1743-7881, Vol. 54, no 4, p. 638-651Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study analyzes how Kurdish women experience the violence and other consequences of the civil war raging between the PKK and the Turkish state. Interviews conducted in Istanbul, Ankara, and Diyarbakir suggest that Kurdish women experience the conflict both as members of an oppressed minority and as women. The study first focuses on identifying sources of conflict related stress that are specific to women, such as the need to be silent to protect their families, and then analyzes the strategies that Kurdish women use to deal with this stress as women, including networking and education.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2018
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-38326 (URN)10.1080/00263206.2018.1443916 (DOI)00431016400006 ()2-s2.0-85043538528 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2018-01-01 Created: 2018-01-01 Last updated: 2018-07-11Bibliographically approved
Nilsson, M. (2018). Muslim Mothers in Ground Combat Against the Islamic State: Women’s Identities and Social Change in Iraqi Kurdistan. Armed forces and society, 44(2), 261-279
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Muslim Mothers in Ground Combat Against the Islamic State: Women’s Identities and Social Change in Iraqi Kurdistan
2018 (English)In: Armed forces and society, ISSN 0095-327X, E-ISSN 1556-0848, Vol. 44, no 2, p. 261-279Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study analyzes the experiences and identities of Kurdish women fighting the Islamic State(IS) in northern Iraq as part of the Peshmerga Army. The case is especially interesting because these women have engaged in ground combat and because there is an empirical gap in knowledge, especially concerning Muslim women’s experiences as soldiers. Wars bring great destruction but can also catalyze social change. While seeking balance between their identities as good mothers and professional soldiers, many Kurdish women see their war participation as a chance to increase their agency and improve equality in society, as combat operations create a window of opportunity to change perceptions of women’s roles. Women soldiers still face prejudices and feel that they must prove their worth as fearless warriors in ground combat. However, interviewed soldiers said that they were not striving for equality but equivalency, stressing those qualities that women in particular can contribute in battle.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2018
Keywords
gender issues, military organization, Islam, Kurdistan, social change, IS
National Category
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-35260 (URN)10.1177/0095327X17699568 (DOI)000429058400004 ()2-s2.0-85042508431 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2017-03-27 Created: 2017-03-27 Last updated: 2018-07-23Bibliographically approved
Nilsson, M. (2018). Primary unit cohesion among the Peshmerga and Hezbollah. Armed forces and society, 44(4), 647-665
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Primary unit cohesion among the Peshmerga and Hezbollah
2018 (English)In: Armed forces and society, ISSN 0095-327X, E-ISSN 1556-0848, Vol. 44, no 4, p. 647-665Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study analyzes the creation of primary unit cohesion among the Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers fighting the IS in northern Iraq and among Hezbollah fighters active in Syria. For this comparative study, Kurdish soldiers were interviewed on three fronts outside Mosul, Erbil, and Kirkuk in February 2015 and May 2016, and Hezbollah fighters were interviewed in Lebanon in March 2016. In contrast to many studies’ depictions of unit cohesion as relating to shared experiences of training and battle, this study argues that the Kurdish soldiers also import into their units various ideas relating to Kurdish identity. These include ideas about nationalism and reli gion, produced through discourses within the Kurdish military and society. However, Hezbollah seeks to minimize political damage in the multi-sectarian political context in Lebanon while conducting domestically contested military operations abroad. This has led to a downplaying of the sectarian aspects of the conflict, which could be imported from the Shia community to increase unit cohesion, and to an ideological framing of the conflict. The general ideas circulating in society and the political context therefore matter for the strategies that can be used to increase primary unit cohesion and soldiers’ fighting power.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2018
Keywords
Cohesion/disintegration, military organization, military effectiveness, strategy
National Category
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-36412 (URN)10.1177/0095327X17720922 (DOI)000443336600006 ()2-s2.0-85052653505 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2017-06-26 Created: 2017-06-26 Last updated: 2018-09-13Bibliographically approved
Aktaş, V., Nilsson, M. & Borell, K. (2018). Social scientist under threat: Resistance and self-censorship in Turkish academia. British Journal of Educational Studies
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Social scientist under threat: Resistance and self-censorship in Turkish academia
2018 (English)In: British Journal of Educational Studies, ISSN 0007-1005, E-ISSN 1467-8527Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Attacks on academic freedom in Turkey have become increasingly systematic in recent years and thousands of academics have been dismissed. This study reflects on the effects of this worsening repression through interviews with academics in the social sciences, both those dismissed and those still active in their profession. Although the dismissed academics are socially in a very precarious position, they are continuing their scholarly activities in alternative, underground forms. This resistance stands in contrast to the accommodation and self-censorship that seem, according to the interviewees, to prevail in university departments.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2018
Keywords
academic freedom, Turkey, self-censorship, resistance
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-41128 (URN)10.1080/00071005.2018.1502872 (DOI)XYZ ()2-s2.0-85052130568 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2018-08-13 Created: 2018-08-13 Last updated: 2018-09-19
Nilsson, M. (2018). The logic of suicide terrorism: Does regime type affect the choice of targets?. Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression, 10(2), 176-185
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The logic of suicide terrorism: Does regime type affect the choice of targets?
2018 (English)In: Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression, ISSN 1943-4472, E-ISSN 1943-4480, Vol. 10, no 2, p. 176-185Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Pape (2003, 2005) famously argued that suicide terrorism is specifically designed to coerce democracies. However, also several autocracies have been targeted. This article argues that suicide attacks as a strategy of coercion rely on a general expectation of being able to raise the cost of conflict for the target state. Raising costs may require attacking different types of targets depending on the regime type one seeks to coerce. While the cost of conflict can be raised for democracies by attacking civilian targets, it can be raised for autocratic regimes if the targets are chosen strategically, for example, by focusing on actors that are particularly important for the government. The article then analyzes statically the risk of government targets being attacked with all incidents of suicide attacks in the Global Terrorism Database, 1981-2014. The results corroborate the hypothesis that the more autocratic the regime, the more likely are suicide terrorists to attack government rather than civilian targets.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2018
Keywords
Suicide terrorism, regime type, choice of targets, rational choice
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-36832 (URN)10.1080/19434472.2017.1367707 (DOI)000436871000005 ()2-s2.0-85027852785 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2017-08-13 Created: 2017-08-13 Last updated: 2018-08-22Bibliographically approved
Josefsson, T., Nilsson, M. & Borell, K. (2017). Everyday resistance to violent radicalism and fundamentalism: Sufi strategies in Sweden. In: : . Paper presented at Seventh International Conference on Religion & Spirituality in Society: Understanding Globalism, Respecting Difference, April 17–18, London, UK.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Everyday resistance to violent radicalism and fundamentalism: Sufi strategies in Sweden
2017 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Using qualitative interviews with representatives of Sufi communities in Sweden, the study directs attention toward the strategies developed byEuropean Muslims themselves in fighting violent radicalism and fundamentalism.

National Category
Religious Studies Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-36742 (URN)
Conference
Seventh International Conference on Religion & Spirituality in Society: Understanding Globalism, Respecting Difference, April 17–18, London, UK
Available from: 2017-07-18 Created: 2017-07-18 Last updated: 2017-10-04Bibliographically approved
Josefsson, T., Nilsson, M. & Borell, K. (2017). Muslims opposing violent radicalism and extremism: Strategies of Swedish Sufi communities. Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, 37(2), 183-195
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Muslims opposing violent radicalism and extremism: Strategies of Swedish Sufi communities
2017 (English)In: Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, ISSN 1360-2004, E-ISSN 1469-9591, Vol. 37, no 2, p. 183-195Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Europe has seen the development of a new research agenda in response to Islamist terror attacks of recent years. Researchers are not only trying to solve the “radicalization puzzle” in order to understand the reasons why young Muslims in Western countries are attracted to extremism, but they are also making proposals for de-radicalizing extremists and creating relationships of trust with Muslim communities. Directly or indirectly, Europe’s Muslim minorities are the objects of the interventions and preventive work under discussion. This study suggests an alternative approach. Rather than regarding Muslims in Europe as more or less passive objects of various anti-extremism interventions, it directs attention toward the strategies developed by European Muslims themselves in fighting Islamist extremism. Using qualitative interviews with leaders of five Sufi communities in Sweden, the study examines a series of strategies for meeting the challenges posed by extremists.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2017
National Category
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-36291 (URN)10.1080/13602004.2017.1339498 (DOI)000406098900004 ()2-s2.0-85021070538 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2017-06-20 Created: 2017-06-20 Last updated: 2017-10-04Bibliographically approved
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0002-1240-4323

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