Carolin Görzig
Carolin Görzig
Telefon: +49 (0) 345 29 27 379


Silke Schmidt
Telefon: +49 (0) 345 29 27 380

Aktuelles aus der Forschungsgruppe

21.11.2019 09:00 - 22.11.2019 17:00
Is Terrorist Learning Different?
Carolin Görzig, Imad Alsoos, Florian Köhler (Max-Planck-Institut für ethnologische Forschung)
Main Seminar Room
Call for Papers

Latest Thinking

How Do Terrorist Groups Learn and Unlearn Violence?

Autor: Carolin Görzig
Länge: 12 Minuten
Sprache: Englisch
Kamera / Fotograf: Florian Wehking

Carolin Görzig präsentiert ihr aktuelles Forschungsprojekt in einem wissenschaftlichen Video des Open Access Video-Journals "Latest Thinking" (

Wege aus der Gewalt – Interview mit Carolin Görzig im Deutschlandfunk

29. Juli 2018

Carolin Görzig, Leiterin der Forschungsgruppe "How 'Terrorists' Learn – Re-considering the tactical and strategic transformation of violent movements and organisations" sprach am 29. Juli 2018 mit Florian Felix Weyh über die Lernfähigkeit von Terrorgruppen, darüber, wie problematisch es ist, den Begriff "Terrorismus" zu benutzen und über die ethischen Fragen, die der Kontakt mit Terroristen aufwirft. In dem Interview geht es auch um Wege aus der Gewalt, um das Verhandeln mit "Terroristen" und darum, wie Mitglieder solcher Gruppen zu neuer Selbsterkenntnis gelangen und Gewalt verlernen.

Hier geht's zur 30-minütigen Sendung.

Vortragsreihe - Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Political Violence

Carolin Görzig, Michael Fürstenberg (Max-Planck-Institut für ethnologische Forschung)
Main Seminar Room

"Can Aid Help Counter Violent Extremism and Terrorism?"

Teilnahme von Almakan Orozobekova an einer Debatte an der University of London


Organisatoren: London International Development Centre & The Guardian

13.10.2016 09:00 - 14.10.2016 17:00
Ist der neue Terrorismus von gestern? Ergebnisse und Perspektiven der Terrorismusforschung in Deutschland
Christopher Daase (Hessische Stiftung Friedens- und Konfliktforschung), Carolin Görzig (Max-Planck-Institut für ethnologische Forschung)
Main Seminar Room
Call for Papers

"Wie lernen Terroristen", Forschung am Max-Planck-Institut

MDR Sachsen / MDR Info,
Interview mit Carolin Görzig, von Theo M. Lies

Wie lernen Terrorgruppen?,
Interview mit Carolin Görzig, von Mike Sattler

Kooperation mit dem Neuen Theater Halle

Das Stück "Djihad Paradise" vom Neuen Theater in Halle wird von der Forschungsgruppe wissenschaftlich begleitet.

Link zur Website des Stücks Djihad Paradise

Flyer Djihad Paradise - Neues Theater

Max-Planck-Forschungsgruppe - Wie 'Terroristen' Lernen

Max-Planck-Forschungsgruppe - Wie 'Terroristen' Lernen

How 'Terrorists' Learn – Re-considering the tactical and strategic transformation of violent movements and organisations 

Framework | Projekte | Veranstaltungen

From the decision to organise in pursuit of a political goal, the learning of specific operational procedures and tactics to the development or renunciation of certain strategies of violence, violent groups are engaged in manifold processes of transformation. Facing a constant threat of repression, violent non-state actors have to continuously improve and adapt in order to be successful, stay relevant, and simply to survive.

The research group seeks to understand these organisational dynamics of violence of so-called "terrorist" groups. Specifically, while existing research in this regard has so far predominantly focused on factors influencing whether organisations are able to learn and innovate, we argue that this has distracted from the more pertinent question of how they learn. In order to systematically study different aspects of learning, the project utilises a framework structured along three interrelated dimensions, covering the context (from whom do they learn?), mechanisms (how do they learn?), and outcomes (what do they learn?) of the learning process. Hence, learning does not occur in a vacuum. Instead we ask, from what or from whom terrorist groups learn and distinguish three contextual levels, ranging from the micro, to the meso and macro level. The learning process can be described as driven mainly by mechanisms of emulation and competition and learning outcomes are changes in tactics, operational procedures, and overall strategies.

Individual projects in the group consider various processes of transformation of actors using violent tactics. Group members have conducted field work in sites like Niger, Palestine, Turkey, Kyrgyztan, and Northern Ireland. This is supplemented with an analysis as well as a reflection of the limitations of (large-N) quantitative datasets on political violence. The three context levels of learning (micro, meso, macro) are taken up in the individual as well as collaborative projects of the Research Group in different ways. While the quantitative research by Michael Fürstenberg especially addresses the meso level, looking at learning among affiliating and merging groups, the PhD projects predominantly focus both on the micro level with a focus on organisational structures, decision-making, and recruitment strategies, and going beyond that level as well. The challenge in theory building is to integrate the different levels by, for example, differentiating between followers and leaders as in Almakan Orozobekova's project, by capturing the different levels of cooperation and conflict influencing organisational dynamics within and between rebel groups, as in Regine Schwab's project, or asking, as does Katharina Siebert's project, how more and less cohesive groups perceive their environment and change strategies – a connection between the micro, meso, and macro levels. With a focus on social interaction between the different stakeholders involved, Florian Köhler's project on Boko Haram analyses the conflict in Eastern Niger in a broad systemic perspective and Imad Alsoos investigates Hamas and an-Nahda's forms of internal and external mobilisation while they were in opposition and while in office/power.

Besides problematising different context levels of learning, each project develops an individual conceptual approach that will be integrated into the wider framework in a subsequent step. Change, adaptation, and innovation are all processes that are different from but yet relate to learning. Benefiting from the conceptual wealth will inform our knowledge on learning processes and answer questions such as: When can we speak of learning and when of change, when does learning lead to adaptation, and how is learning related to innovation?


Goerzig, Carolin. Forthcoming 2019. Terrorist learning in context: the case of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. Critical Terrorism Studies.

Schwab, Regine. 2018. Insurgent courts in civil wars: the three pathways of (trans)formation in today's Syria (2012-2017). Small Wars & Insurgencies 29(4): 801-826. DOI: 10.1080/09592318.2018.1497290.

Alsoos, Imad. 2018. Why Hamas is protesting in Gaza - and why it will continue. The Washington Post, April 8, 2018.

Orozobekova, Almakan. 2017. Recruitment of foreign fighters to violent islamist groups: the cases of the Kyrgyz Republic and the United Kingdom. Zentralasien-Seminar, Institut für Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Berlin.

Goerzig, Carolin and Claudia Hofmann. 2016. The hurting way out: group cohesion and the mitigating potential of private actors in conflict negotiation. Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Working Paper No. 177.

Orozobekova, Almakan. 2016. The mobilization and recruitment of foreign fighters: the case of Islamic State, 2012-2014. Connections: The Quarterly Journal 15(3): 83-100. DOI: 10.11610/Connections.15.3.07.

Hofmann, Claudia and Carolin Goerzig. 2016. Influencing Negotiation Willingness in the Middle East: The Potential Contributions of Private Actors. Negotiation Journal 32(2): 151-163.

Goerzig, Carolin and Khaled Al-Hashimi. 2015. Radicalization in Western Europe: Integration and Loss of Identity among Muslim Communities. London, New York: Routledge.

Goerzig, Carolin and Claudia Hofmann. 2015. The Dark Side of Recognition: Mutual Exclusiveness of Active and Passive Recognition in the Middle East. In: Christopher Daase, Anna Geis et al. (eds.). Recognition in International Relations. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.

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