Skip to main content
KBS_Icon_questionmark link-ico


Jeroen is on research leave until September 2020.

Jeroen Gunning is Professor of Middle Eastern Politics and Conflict Studies in the Institute of Middle Eastern Studies at King's College London. He obtained his Ph.D. from the Centre for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, Durham University, and was a British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellow at St Antony’s College, Oxford University.

His research focuses on political mobilisation with a specific focus on the interplay between Islamist social movements, democratisation, religion, political contestation and violence (both state and non-state) in the Middle East. He is one of the world's leading scholars on the Palestinian Hamas; he has written a critically acclaimed social movement theory explanation of the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, and he is currently working on a research project on Hizballah in Lebanon. He is one of the founders of the field of critical terrorism studies and has taught and advised both policy-makers and civil society organisations. 

His recent publications include Hamas in Politics: Democracy, Religion, Violence (2007/8) – reviewed in both the New York Review of Books and the Times Literary Supplement – and CHOICE Award-winning Terrorism: A Critical Introduction (2011, with R. Jackson, M. Breen Smyth and L. Jarvis). His latest book, Why Occupy a Square? People, Protests and Movements in the Egyptian Revolution (with Ilan Zvi Baron) was published by Hurst/Oxford University Press in 2013/2014 and has been described by two of the world's leading scholars of revolutions as 'a model for all analyses of revolutionary episodes' (Jack Goldstone, George Mason University in Global Politics) and ‘the most rigorous explanation currently available of the ... mass mobilizations in Cairo’ (Jeff Goodwin, New York University).


  • Protest and mobilisation in the Middle East (esp. using social movement theory)
  • The role of religion and secular ideologies in political violence
  • Causes, patterns and effects of political violence (state or non-state)
  • State effects and the everyday state in the Middle East
  • Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt
  • Islamist movements and political participation

Professor Gunning's research is situated at the interface between area studies and theories of political contestation, drawing on a wide variety of disciplines including sociology, anthropology, political science, international relations, and security studies. He is one of the world's leading authorities on the Palestinian Hamas, and one of the pioneers globally of a social movement theory approach to the study of Islamist movements. He has advanced a dynamic interpretation of social movement theory, weaving together structural and agential analysis to explain mass mobilisation in the context of authoritarian repression in his recent, co-authored book on the Egyptian Revolution, Why Occupy a Square?. His next co-authored book will apply this social movement model to the Lebanese Islamist movement Hizballah.

Professor Gunning welcomes research on political mobilisation/contestation in the Middle East utilising a social movement theory approach. Drawing on his work on Hamas and Hizballah, Professor Gunning has been at the forefront of the critique of conventional accounts of 'terrorist organisations', which tend to accept state-centric knowledge about such groups without adequately contextualising the causes and dynamics of political violence based on in-depth fieldwork. He was one of the co-founders of the field of Critical Terrorism Studies, and welcomes research that looks critically at instances of political violence, whether perpetrated by state, hybrid or non-state actors.


PhD Supervision

Professor Gunning welcomes PhD applications concerned with Islamist political mobilisation, protest and revolution more broadly, political violence (whether by state or non-state actors, including domestic and international counter-terrorism regimes), the role of religion and secular ideologies in political violence, the everyday state in the Middle East, particularly with reference to Lebanon, Palestine and Egypt.