Biography

Professor Tahir Abbas FRSA

I am currently a Visiting Senior Fellow at the London School of Economics Department of Government. I specialise in research and teaching on ethnicity, radicalisation, Islamophobia, contemporary Islam and Muslim politics, which fuses together the fields of sociology, criminology, government and international relations. I have published 12 books (16 volumes), over 65 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and encyclopaedic entries, and with over 2,000 citations to writing on ethnicity, ethnic relations, Islamic fundamentalism, Muslim social conditions and politics, radicalism, terrorism and violence.

From 2010 to 2016, I lived in Istanbul and worked as a full Professor of Sociology. In December 2016, I published my third sole-authored book on the subject of ethnicity, Islam and politics in Turkey. Research for the book included original qualitative 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. I generated data on social capital, political trust and ethnic intolerance to argue that ethnic and political conflict in Turkey is closely tied to perspectives on national identity, in particular, majoritarian nationalism, which is a part of a cyclical theme in Turkish politics. Political violence is the manifestation of modes of political resistance in response to the actions of repeated cycles of state repression. I travelled all over Turkey, but I also took up visiting academic positions, living and studying for short or extended periods in New York, Leiden, Jerusalem, Islamabad and Jakarta. I reflected on the interconnections between contemporary Islam, liberal democracy and capitalism, especially in Turkey – at the same time, I maintained a perspective on Western European Muslims through my writing on Islamophobia and radicalisation.

My wider work on ethnicity and radicalisation focuses on how minority violence and extremism is a consequence of the limitations to domestic policies of integration (pluralism, interculturalism or multiculturalism) and foreign policies of containment, specifically in relation to the MENA region. The importance of these structural inequalities and institutional processes act as backdrops both in the UK and in Turkey. The importance of dismantling inequalities and social injustices affecting ethnic minority cultures and groups is a theme that has run throughout my work on education, small business, honour-related violence, and specifically on radicalisation, political violence and terrorism.

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 is an analytical critique of 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, British International Studies Association and an Associate Member of the British Association for Islamic Studies. My publications page lists my writing since 2015. For a full academic career history, visit the academic positions page.