The Islamic State Phenomenon

The Islamic State Phenomenon


It has been dominating world headlines for almost two years. Mention of its name – or the wide range of names by which it has been known – stirs up a range of responses and emotions.

The so-called Islamic State –or IS for short – first appeared on the international scene in 2014, seizing large amounts of territory in Syria and Iraq. Images of its black-clad members are often accompanied by reference to its fundamentalist interpretation of Sharia Law, its opposition to Western influence in Muslim world, and footage of its brutality, which includes beheadings and mass executions.

Its influence has since spread to other parts of the Middle East and North Africa, with a number of groups pledging allegiance to it. The IS phenomenon continues to grow, engaging in ever more battles with states and groups in the region, and at the same time raising serious questions about its motives, its intentions, and just how far it’s willing to go to achieve them.

In this the final edition of the Resources for Democracy podcast, we talk to John Turner, Assistant Professor at the Eastern Mediterranean University, who has an extensive research background in Political Islam, the Middle East, and the War on Terror.

Supplementary Resources

What ISIS Really Wants

Could ISIS Exist Without Islam?

ISIS Islamic Extremism | MILITARY AND WAR Channel (vid)


Homegrown Islamic Extremism in 2014: The Rise of ISIS & Sustained Online Recruitment

Counter Extremism Project, ISIS

Life Inside the ISIS Home Base of Raqqa, Syria (vid)

The Guardian. Why ISIS fights

Nationalism in Context: the case of Greece

Nationalism in Context: the case of Greece


Few years ago some scholars moved quickly to proclaim the end of the ‘age of nationalism’, under the assumption that concepts such as religion and culture would predominate in international politics in the 21st century.

However, a glance around the world and one may surmise that there really has been no end to nationalism. In emerging economies, nationalism, remains extremely prevalent while we observe the emergence of new forms of nationalism, fused with religion, in Jihadist organizations.

What is more, in some member states of the European Union, a continent stricken by the destructive effects of two world wars, nationalist ideologies have resurged becoming entangled with extreme conceptions of the ‘nation’, some even bordering on fascism.

But nationalism is a complex phenomenon that needs to be examined both as an overarching concept as well as a within specific contexts.

In this edition of the “Resources for Democracy” podcast we speak to Daphne Halikiopoulou, Lecturer in Comparative Politics at the University of Reading who discusses the different variations of nationalism, with a strong focus on Greece.

Supplementary Resources

Right-Wing Extremism in Europe: Country Analyses, Counter Strategies and Labor-Market Oriented Exit Strategies

Nationalism and international relations

Populism, Euro-Scepticism and Nationalism in Europe: Rising Tides? (vid)

Rising Influence of Right Wing Groups in Europe – What’s Behind this? (vid)

The Rise of ‘Golden Dawn’ in Greece – Mini-documentary by ‘The Guardian’ (English subtitles) (vid)

The rise of the Golden Dawn and extremism in Greece can be seen as part of a broader phenomenon of a culture of intolerance, which is maintained and perpetuated through the Greek education system.

Understanding the electoral breakthrough of Golden Dawn in Greece. A demand and supply perspective

Golden Dawn and its appeal to Greek youth

 The Rise of Golden Dawn: The New Face of the Far Right in Greece

National populism and xenophobia in Greece

Reclaiming Xenophobia: The Rise of Ultra-Nationalism in Greece


Democratic crisis: how do we stem the remorseless rise of nationalists and populists?