The Historical Mapping of Armed Groups’ Recognition

Retour aux événements

Research seminar by Dr Stephan Hensell, Visiting Researcher ULB


The history of non-state armed groups since the end of the Second World War demonstrates that these groups often follow a particular trajectory in international politics. While initially being denounced as “criminals” or “terrorists”, they later often become recognized as regular political actors. How and why armed groups become legitimate actors in world politics is largely dependent on global historical contexts. In the case of armed groups, legitimation means ultimately to be recognized as a government-like actor by other governments. In post Second World War history, this “officialization” is embedded in a sequence of three subsequent historical conjunctures: the age of decolonization, the Cold War, and the age of humanitarianism. Armed groups are both products of these respective times, and powerful agents of the politics of their times. The presentation aims to identify a few time-bound general observations in this web of relations.

Stephan Hensell holds a PhD from Humboldt-University Berlin and has held positions as researcher and lecturer at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy (IFSH) and at the Institute of Political Science at the University of Hamburg. His research interests include civil wars, armed groups, state-building and intervention. Since 2018, he is working as a policy officer at the Representation of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein to the EU, where he is combining governmental affairs on EU science policy with studies on the development of the EU civil security research programme. He is at the same time visiting researcher at the Institut d’études européennes, ULB.

Online registration required by April 1st via ► this link

(Complimentary sandwich lunch  for those who have signed up)

Wednesday April 3rd2019, 12:30-2:30 pm


Solbosch Campus, Kant Room

Avenue F. Roosevelt 39, 1050 Bruxelles

Contact & information: