Spyros Sofos: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the Islamic State, and a Couple of Things You Didn’t

Spyros Sofos joined the Center for Middle Eastern Studies of Lund University in September 2012. He is visiting Research Fellow at St Antony’s College Oxford, Politics and Human Rights Adjunct Professor at the Saints Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje, and a Research Fellow at Istanbul Bilgi University. He has previously been a founder of and Senior Research Fellow in International Politics at the Helen Bamber Centre for the Study of Rights, Conflict and Mass Violence of Kingston University, a Senior Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer in International Politics at Portsmouth University. He has also been Visiting Lecturer on Conflict Analysis, Nationalism and Human Rights at the University of Siena (MA in Human Rights and Humanitarian Action), on Nationalism and Multiculturalism at Tartu University and on Southeastern European Politics at Istanbul Bilgi University, as well as a NATO Research Fellow. Spyros has launched and directed Kingston’s MSc in International Conflict, taught extensively at postgraduate and undergraduate levels and has supervised and seen to completion several doctoral projects. His research interests include the study of social identities, collective action, conflict and conflict transformation – his current work focuses on Muslim communities in Europe, a comparison of contentious politics in Europe and the Middle East, the mediation of Jihad, and the ‘social construction’ of the Islamic State (IS). He is member of the advisory board of Transconflict, a conflict transformation NGO as well as of several civil society initiatives related to conflict transformation and reconciliation in Palestine, Cyprus, Greece and former Yugoslavia . He has been a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of AreaStudies, Mediterranean Politics and the Journal of Southern Europe and the Balkans and is editor of the Journal of Contemporary European Studies. He is currently editing a book series on ‘Islam and Nationalism’ (with Umut Özkırımlı) for Palgrave Macmillan.


Spyros Sofos  will attempt to give a sketch of the phenomenon of the Islamic State as ‘state of exception’, a constellation of narratives and practices that make up what I call a ‘counterstate’ and as a ‘happening’ both in the way the term is used in media studies and in the way it was used by the late Nebojša Popov in the early 1990s.