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Francis O'Connor

I’m a political sociologist and consultant based in Cologne, Germany providing Conflict Analysis, Radicalisation Expertise and Policy Advice & Training.

Bio & Background

Exploring the Dynamics of Political Violence

I am an Irish political sociologist studying political violence, including civil wars, insurgency, terrorism, and social movements. Currently a Marie Curie Skłodowska Post-Doctoral Fellow at Wageningen University, I'm researching the spatial dynamics of insurgent support in Turkey/Kurdistan and Colombia. With extensive fieldwork experience and contributions to the Lone Actor Radicalisation and Terrorism (LART) dataset, my work is published in respected academic journals and co-authored books on protest and referendums. Passionate about unraveling political complexities, I'm eager to share my insights with others.


Exploring the complexities of insurgencies, social movements, and democracy

Across my three published books, I explore the complexities of political contestation, protest, conflict and insurgency. My latest book "Understanding Insurgency - Popular Support for the PKK in Turkey" delves into the vital relationship between armed groups and their supporters, using the PKK's three-decade insurgency in Turkey as a compelling case study

My other co-authored work "Late Neoliberalism and its Discontents in the Economic Crisis" offers an in-depth empirical illustration and theoretical analysis of the patterns of anti-austerity protest in the Great Recession of the past decade. The co-authored book "Social Movements and Referendums from Below - Direct Democracy in the Neoliberal Crisis" addresses grassroots mobilisation and the role of social movements in independence referendums.

My Research

Exploring the Spectrum of Conflict

My research straddles multiple disciplines and subject areas ranging from conventional street protest, patterns of individual and collective radicalisation, all the ways through to armed conflict and civil war . In order to better understand the human experience and perspective of this broad spectrum, my research is largely based on qualitative and ethnographic-oriented methods.

In particular, I work with life histories and unstructured interviews of people with first hand experience of conflict.  I am motivated to understand why people turn to violence, either directly as perpetrators or indirectly as supporters of armed movements, investigating the conditions where violence is perceived as a valid solution to political and interpersonal conflicts and indeed, under which conditions people cease to support violence.

Published Work

Dive into my published works and opinion pieces
Academic Article
Scattered Attacks: The Collective Dynamics of Lone-Actor Terrorism
Perspectives on Politics

Academic Article
Rebel governance without territorial control: The experiences of the PKK in 1970s Turkey

Academic Article
Clandestinity and insurgent consolidation: The M-19’s rebel governance in urban Colombia
Political Geography

Get in touch

Questions and feedback are always welcome.

I feel very privileged to have been able to dedicate much of my working life to addressing what I believe are questions of profound importance to us all. I am therefore always pleased to hear back from readers and engage with their feedback. The back and forth, between myself and readers, critics and interested parties is key to improving my work. Accordingly, please feel free to get in touch via email.