Introduction: Paramilitarism as a Catalyst of Perpetration
Ugur Umit Ungor
University of Amsterdam / NIOD, NL
Uğur Ümit Üngör is Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust, and Genocide Studies in Amsterdam. His main areas of interest are state formation and nation formation, with a particular focus on mass violence. His most recent publications include Genocide: New Perspectives on its Causes, Courses and Consequences (Amsterdam University Press, 2016, ed.), Confiscation and Destruction: The Young Turk Seizure of Armenian Property (Continuum, 2011) and the award-winning The Making of Modern Turkey: Nation and State in Eastern Anatolia, 1913-1950 (Oxford University Press, 2011). He is an editor of the Journal of Perpetrator Research, and coordinator of the Syrian Oral History project at NIOD. He recently completed an NWO-funded research project on paramilitarism, which led to the monograph Paramilitarism: Mass Violence in the Shadow of the State (Oxford University Press, 2020). He is currently working on its sequel monograph, Shabbiha: Assad's Militias and Mass Violence in Syria (forthcoming).
Paramilitarism is key to understanding perpetration. Many studies of civil wars, counterinsurgencies, and genocides have demonstrated the central role of paramilitaries in the perpetration of violence against civilians. The organization of paramilitarism, from the top liaisons at the helm of the state, down to the killers who commit the violence is a crucial nexus to be examined. This special issue looks into paramilitarism in four different societies.