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Max-Planck-Institute for Social Anthropology/University of Frankfurt

Bucerius Pre-Doctoral Grant

Collective Action Problems in the Syrian Conflict


While there are many studies on the causes of revolutions, civil wars and other forms of armed conflict, few investigate the ‘management of rebellion’. Regine Schwab´s Ph.D. project seeks to find answers to the crucial questions of how groups form, hold together, and convince their members to risk their lives for the sake of the groups’ goals. It investigates how an insurgency is maintained, once it has been started, and why success is spread unevenly across rebel groups (and regimes). Focusing on the key factor of organizational entrepreneurship, the ongoing Syrian conflict serves as the empirical backdrop for analyzing the following questions: Why do some armed groups manage to stay in the game while most do not? What role does religion play in organizational management? On a theoretical level, how can religion be incorporated in Rational Choice explanations?
Regine Schwab is Ph.D. student in a research group investigating tactical and strategic transformation processes of violent movements and organisations at the Max-Planck-Institute for Social Anthropology and the University of Frankfurt. During her undergraduate and graduate studies at Humboldt University, Free University Berlin and the University of California, Berkeley, she focused on political Islam in the MENA region and the relationship between religion and politics. She has studied Arabic in Cairo and Beirut.

Christian Schneickert, Regine Schwab and Andreas Kroneder (2015): Globalizing Elites from the Global South. Transnational Elites from Brazil and India. In: Alexander Lenger (ed.): Dynamics of Global Inequality. Wiesbaden: Springer (Forthcoming).

(2014). De-constitutionalising the Egyptian Constitution. In: Belakhdar, Naoual; Ilka Eickhof; Abla el Khawaga; Ola el Khawaga; Amal Hamada; Cilja Harders; Serena Sandri (ed.): Arab Revolutions and Beyond: Change and Persistence. Proceedings of the International Conference, Tunis, 12-13 November 2013. Available online:

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