Counterinsurgency: A Conceptual Reassessment


Date and Time

October 31, 2013 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM


Open to the public.

No RSVP required


CISAC Conference Room

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ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Niccolò Petrelli is a postdoctoral fellow at CISAC. His research focuses on reassessing the theory and practice of counterinsurgency. Incorporating insights from the contiguous fields of study of "civil wars" and "peacekeeping operations" and employing critical historical analysis of case studies, the research aims to analyze the features, limits and influence of the theory of Counterinsurgency. Before joining CISAC in 2013, Niccolò was a military research fellow at the Military Center for Strategic Studies (Ce.Mi.S.S.) within the Center for Advanced Defense Studies (CASD) in Rome, Italy, and a research assistant at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) in Herzliya. Niccolò received his PhD in Political Science from the University of Roma Tre in 2013. In his dissertation, he examined the impact of strategic culture on the Israeli approach to counterinsurgency.

ABOUT THE TOPIC: In "Counterinsurgency: A Conceptual Reassessment," Niccolò Petrelli will address unresolved issues in the study of counterinsurgency (COIN). The talk will focus on three main questions: How did COIN theory emerge and which are its intellectual sources? To what extent has COIN practice been informed by theory? Is the population-centric COIN paradigm prevalent in scholarly studies and in the contemporary professional discourse historically accurate? In order to answer these questions, the talk will first outline a critical historical analysis of the development of COIN theory, tracing its intellectual roots and fundamental assumptions. Subsequently, it will reassess practice through the qualitative comparative analysis of several case studies of COIN campaigns.