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Bielefeld Graduate School
in History and Sociology
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Dennis Walkenhorst

Filling the Gaps

Hamas and Hezbollah between inclusion and exclusion: A multi-dimensional framework based on Sociological Systems Theory.

"Filling the Gaps" is a term often used by scholars, journalists and officials to describe the activities of Islamist organizations like Hamas or Hezbollah. Although the term seems to be quite common as a (self-)description, it has not yet been applied to any further theoretical work. This dissertation uses the term as a first step to develop a multi-dimensional framework for an analysis of the evolution of Islamist organizations. Based on Sociological Systems Theory - as introduced by Niklas Luhmann - it shows how Islamists are in fact "filling gaps" on three different levels of analysis - the individual, the organizational and the societal - and in three different dimensions. These dimensions include: (1) the communicative emergence and maintenance of conflict-systems as a way to create identities; (2) the management of processes of inclusion and exclusion to make problematic social exclusions observable and offer career opportunities to members and (3) an extensive internal differentiation to "mirror" the realities of a modern, functionally differentiated world society in an Islamist context. All three dimensions are interpreted as functional answers to certain observable regional "needs" which other organizations (NGOs, nation-states etc.) fail to serve. Furthermore, the empirical analysis of Hamas and Hezbollah shows that the three dimensions are in practice reciprocally connected and can be identified on each level of analysis.

Curriculum Vitae

12/2015 - 01/2016
Forschungsaufenthalt an der Hebräischen Universität in Jerusalem (Israel)

08/2014 - 05/2015
Visiting Doctoral Student an der Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA

Seit 03/2013
Stipendiat des Rektorates der Universität Bielefeld

Seit 2012
Doktorand / Promotionsstudent an der Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology

Seit 03/2012
Master of Arts (M.A.), Politische Kommunikation, Universität Bielefeld.

08/2011 - 02/2012
Wissenschaftliche Hilfskraft (WHK) am Lehrstuhl für Politische Kommunikation und Risikosoziologie, Universität Bielefeld

Seit 07/2009
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Politikwissenschaft, Universität Bielefeld.

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Current volume InDi

Gefördert durch:

Exzellenzinitiative zur Förderung der Hochschulen
(1. Förderphase 2007-2012,
2. Förderphase 2012-2017)

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