Syrian Kurdish Political Activism: A Social Movement Theory Perspective

  • Wietse van den Berge Leiden University
Keywords: Syria, Kurds, Political Parties, PYD, KNC


Syrian Kurdish politics is complex. While the political parties appear rather similar in terms of their goals, fierce inter-party rivalry exists, nonetheless. Shedding some light on Syrian Kurdish politics using Social Movement Theory as a theoretical framework, this article deals with how and why Syrian Kurds choose a specific political party. Interviews with Syrian Kurdish political activists in Iraqi Kurdistan provide the data. The interviews point out that a striking cleavage exists: Respondents sympathizing with the dominant political party preferred social equality, while interviewees belonging to other parties have a preference for non-violence.

Author Biography

Wietse van den Berge, Leiden University

is a PhD Candidate at the Centre for Terrorism and Counter-terrorism of Leiden University in The Netherlands. His subject concerns political violence in contemporary Middle East, focusing on minorities such as Syria’s Kurds. email:

How to Cite
van den Berge, W. “Syrian Kurdish Political Activism: A Social Movement Theory Perspective”. Middle East - Topics & Arguments, Vol. 4, May 2015, pp. 160-9, doi:
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