Biography of Professor Tahir Abbas FRSA
I am currently a Visiting Senior Fellow at the London School of Economics Department of Government, and a Senior Research Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute. I specialise in contemporary Islam, Muslim politics, ethnic relations, sociology of education, radicalisation and countering violent extremism. I have published 12 books (16 volumes), over 65 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and encyclopaedic entries, and with nearly 2,000 citations.
In December 2016, I published my most recent monograph on ethnicity, Islam and politics in Turkey. Research for the book included first-hand observations and statistical modelling of European Social Survey data from Turkey. I also interviewed respondents at the centre (Gezi Park protesters) and periphery (PKK families in Yüksekova) using a grounded theoretical framework.
From 2010 to 2016, I lived in Istanbul and worked as a professor of sociology. I travelled all over Turkey. I also took up visiting academic positions, living and working for short or extended periods in New York, Leiden, Jerusalem, Islamabad and Jakarta between 2010 and 2016. Throughout this time, I wrote extensively, reflecting in particular on the interconnections between contemporary Islam, liberal democracy and capitalism, especially in Turkey.
My work on ethnicity and radicalisation counters the notion that ethnic and religious violence and extremism are solved solely within groups. Violence is a consequence, a function of environment and context, with the importance of structural inequalities and institutional processes as backdrops. The need to dismantle inequalities and social injustices affecting ethnic minority cultures and groups is a theme that has run throughout my work on education, entrepreneurship, honour-related violence, and specifically on radicalisation, political violence and terrorism.
Much of my current work also involves writing and engagement with both academic and non-academic actors, extending my skills, knowledge and experience of diplomacy relating to de-radicalisation and conflict reduction thinking and policy. I have two book projects currently underway, both to be published in 2018. One explores the intersections between Islamophobia and radicalisation, analysing the conflation between Islamism, Islamophobia, radicalisation, identity politics and social conflict in Britain. The other is a co-authored book that focuses on the countering violent extremism policy framework in a global context.
I am a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Fellow of the Muslim Institute, which publishes the quarterly magazine, Critical Muslim, edited by Ziauddin Sardar, for which I am also an Associate Editor. I am a Member of the Political Studies Association and an Associate Member of the British Association for Islamic Studies. Please visit my publications page for a list of writing since 2015. For my full academic career history, visit the academic positions page.