Vito Morisco

Department: Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies (IAIS)
Discipline: Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies

Project Summary

This doctoral research analyses Hezbollah’s transformation from 2001 to 2021 through the lenses of relational sociology. Relational sociology, as outlined in Emirbayer’s Manifesto for a Relational Sociology (1997), considers social reality in dynamic, fluid and processual terms thus social/political movements transform, across time and space, due to multiple and complex relational interactions with other actors. Therefore, this project analysis Hezbollah’s evolution within four “arenas of interactions”, namely: 1. Hezbollah vis-à-vis the Lebanese state; 2. Hezbollah and the Lebanese army/security forces; 3. Intra-movement relations (e.g. ideology, political identity, structure etc.); 4. Hezbollah and the public arena

Moreover, this doctoral project aims, first, to contribute to the research on political violence offering, possibly, a new perspective; and, second, to emancipate movements such as Hezbollah going beyond orthodox terrorism and security studies. The author will adopt an interdisciplinary approach by analysing his case study through Social Movement Theory (SMT) and Critical Security Studies (CSS). Indeed, while mainstream security and terrorism studies consider political violence as a sui generis social pathology, SMT and CSS scholars examine this phenomenon never in isolation but within the movement and, more broadly, within the societal and political context. 

Although this work is focused on the Middle East, it raises interesting comparative perspectives with other global groups (e.g. the IRA, ETA, etc.) in order to "de-orientalize" the study of Islamist movements by placing the selected case studies within the same theoretical framework of Western political/social movements.


Supervisory Team

Dr Lise Storm (Senior Lecturer in Middle East Politics)

Dr Billie Jeanne Brownlee (Lecturer in Middle East Politics)

Wider Research Interests


  • Political Violence
  • Islamist Movements
  • Radicalisation, Moderation and Deradicalisation
  • Middle East Politics
  • IR of the Middle East
  • Critical Terrorism Studies
  • Social Movement Theory
  • Italian Foreign Policy in the Mediterranean 
  • Islam in Italy


  • Middle East and North Africa
  • Central Asia (Afghanistan and Tajikistan)

Authored Publications/Reports

Morisco, Vito (19th May 2015) Jihadi Networks: Virtual or Real? , LeggIntelligence, 1, 164-176