Jack McGinn

Jack McGinn

Research Student

Department of Sociology

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Key Expertise
Middle East, Political Sociology, Critical Theory, Critical Realism

About me

Research Topic:

Decentralised anti-hierarchical organising in the Syrian uprising


Professor Chetan Bhatt (Department of Sociology) and Dr Sara Salem (Department of Sociology)

Research Interests:

Middle East Studies, Mobilisation, Political Sociology, Social Movements, Critical Theory, Critical Realism, Anarchism, Qualitative Methods, Contentious Politics, Revolutions

Thesis Abstract:

My PhD research seeks to outline how and why Syrian activists involved in the popular uprising of 2011 chose to organise on a non-hierarchical ‘horizontal’ basis, eschewing traditional leadership and party models to build widespread and resilient grassroots popular resistance networks. In doing so, I wish to ask what lessons can be learned from the trajectory of this decentralised revolutionary social movement – its rapid growth, embeddedness into the social fabric of society, remarkable achievements in challenging a repressive regime, and eventual failure and outmanoeuvre by competing forces. What characterised the revolutionary process in Syria – how did it forge and mobilise networks at the rural/village level to sustain a popular mass challenge to state authority? How did the revolution’s class dynamics and geo-spatial specificities impact its organisational form? In short – what made this revolution function in the way that they did?


2020. ‘During this pandemic, governments have waged a parallel war on the truth’, Ceasefire Magazine, 24 August 2020. 

2021. ‘Non-Hierarchical Revolution: Grassroots Politics in the First Palestinian Intifada’, Oxford Middle East Review, 8 August 2021.