Online | Conversation with Prof. Uğur Ümit Üngör

The Polonsky Salon

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Sunday | 06.06.21 | 19:00

A conversation with Prof. Uğur Ümit Üngör on his new book

Paramilitarism: Mass Violence in the Shadow of the State

Polonsky Salon is a new digital public platform at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. Polonsky Fellows and alumni will host inspiring and internationally renowned academics to discuss new ideas and cutting-edge research from various disciplines in the humanities and social sciences.

From the deserts of Sudan to the jungles of Colombia, and from the streets of Belfast to Mandate Palestine and the mountains of Kurdistan, paramilitaries have appeared in violent conflicts in very different settings. Paramilitaries are generally depicted as irregular armed organizations that carry out acts of violence against civilians on behalf of a state. In doing so, they undermine the state's monopoly of legitimate violence, while at the same time creating a breeding ground for criminal activities. Why do governments with functioning police forces and armies use paramilitary groups? Uğur Ümit Üngör tackles this question through the prism of the interpenetration of paramilitaries and the state. According to Üngör, paramilitarism is the ability of the state to successfully outsource mass political violence against civilians that transforms and traumatizes societies. In this conversation, we will discuss Üngör's argument that paramilitarism can be understood in a global context, and that paramilitarism is connected to transformations of warfare and state-society relations as articulated in Üngör’s recent book Paramilitarism: Mass Violence in the Shadow of the State (Oxford University Press, July 2020).

The live broadcast will have subtitles in Hebrew.


Prof. Uğur Ümit Üngör, Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at The NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, The Netherlands

Dr. Ümit Kurt, Polonsky Academy Fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute

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