Yasin Sunca - Doctoral Researcher

Yasin Sunca

Doctoral project:
Building Political Space at the Intersection of Global Structures and Social Change: The International Relations of the Kurdish Movement in Upper Mesopotamia


since 10/2017 Doctoral Researcher in the Research Training Group "World Politics", Bielefeld University
09/2012 - 06/2013 M.A. Political Science, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
09/2004 - 06/2010 B.A. International Relations, Uludag University, Bursa, Turkey

The research aims at analyzing the processes and ways in which the Kurdish movement led by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq has worked to build space for its ideological and political claims to be intelligible, operational and effective in local and international realms over the past four decades. This research engages with the PKK sociologically, historically and internationally in order to reveal the causal mechanisms that conditioned the building of such a transnational political space. The term "building political space" is understood as the international relations of the PKK in the making of democratic confederalism, which implies the radical decentralization of neighboring nation-states where the Kurds live and attempts to establish a self-governance model based on direct democracy to ultimately render the nation-state borders meaningless. As an ideological stance and every-day political practice particularly in the Kurdish regions of Turkey, Iraq and Syria, democratic confederalism constitutes a space where the PKK and in/organically related structures are operational. This practice radically challenges both mainstream IR theories and the states-system in the Middle East. By taking up an approach based on the co-constituent role of "global" and "local" in development, this research seeks to understand the role of agency in social and political transformations at global, regional and local levels. The research ultimately aims to contribute in the redefinition of IR beyond state-centrism and it is grounded upon an inter-societal conceptualization of IR over longue durée - international historical sociology.

  • Sunca, Y. (2016). Infrastructures for Peace in Turkey. A Mapping Study. Berlin: Berghof Foundation.


Forthcoming in October and November: RTG-Workshops

Two-day workshops at Bielefeld University on 'Imagining Belonging in World Politics: Concepts, practices and struggles' (01 & 02 Oct.18) and 'Balance and Competition in World Politics' (09 & 10 Nov.18) organized by the RTG members.

Workshop with Deborah Ruggieri

"Attention please & the power of persuasion." A workshop for female PhD students funded by the RTGs equality fund.


Guest Lecture by Georgios Varouxakis (London)

Lecture series 'Signaturen der Weltgesellschaft' jointly organized with the Institute for World Society on "Towards a genealogy of the concept of the West" presented by Prof. Dr. Georgios Varouxakis (Queen Mary University), Thursday 12 July at 18.15 in room X-C3-107.

Guest Lecture by Ursula Mense-Petermann (Bielefeld)

Lecture series 'Signaturen der Weltgesellschaft' jointly organized with the Institute for World Society on "Observing transnational labor markets through the lens of economic sociology - on the production of a transnational labor market in the meat industry" presented by Prof. Dr. Ursula Mense-Petermann (Bielefeld University), 19 June at 18.15 in room X-C3-107.

Workshop with Jennifer Pitts (Chicago)

Workshop jointly organized with the Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology on "Boundaries of the International" held by Prof. Dr. Jennifer Pitts (University of Chicago)

Guest Lecture by Shih-Jiunn Shi (Bielefeld)

Lecture series 'Signaturen der Weltgesellschaft' jointly organized with the Institute for World Society on "Cultural Convergence or Political-economic Divergence: A Comparative Perspective on the Welfare Development in Greater China" presented by Shih-Jiunn Shi (Fellow at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research Bielefeld).

Guest Lecture by Or Rosenboim (London)

Lecture series 'Signaturen der Weltgesellschaft' jointly organized with the Institute for World Society on "Globalism: Historical Perspectives on a Contested Concept" presented by Dr. Or Rosenboim.

RTG newsletter was launched

The RTG successfully launched its newsletter. The first issue is now available online. The newsletter provides an overview of past developments and events of the RTG and informs about future events. The next issue is expected to be published at the end of the summer semester.

New doctoral researcher joined the RTG

On 01 March, Karlson Preuss took up his position in the Research Training Group. In his doctoral dissertation, he focuses on "The Unwritten Constitution as an Intersection between Global Law and World Politics".


A touch of world politics in Bad Salzuflen

The RTG participated in the Annual Retreat of the Institute for World Society Studies on 14 and 15 December 2017 in Bad Salzuflen. More.


Guest lecture by George Lawson (LSE) on 28 November

We would like to invite you to the Guest lecture "Global Historical Sociology" by Dr. George Lawson (LSE) on Tuesday, 28 November at 18:15 in room no. X C3-107.


RTG "World Politics" officially launched

Ten international young scientists and eleven principal investigators will investigate the emergence of world politics as a specific type of politics from an interdisciplinary perspective. More.

Official Opening of the RTG on 24 October

We would like to invite you to the Official Opening of the RTG and the guest lecture "'Lies are the Law of the World!' News and Global Media Networks in the Twentieth Century" by Prof. Dr. Heidi Tworek (University of British Columbia, Vancouver) on Tuesday, 24 October at 18:15 in room no. X C3-107.

The RTG "World Politics" started on 01 October

On 01 October 2017, the Research Training Group "World politics: The emergence of political arenas and modes of observation in world society" started. Nine doctoral researchers and one post-doctoral researcher took up their positions.

The RTG is approved

We are pleased to announce that the DFG has approved our Research Training Group application. The new Research Training Group `World politics: The emergence of political arenas and modes of observation in world society´ will start 01 October 2017.