top of page
Image by Mahmoud Sulaiman

 OUR FRAMEWORK 

In order to ensure that our writers remain impartial, unbiased, and purely objective, The Modern Insurgent team follows a very strict framework. This framework encompasses our definitions, writing procedures, and research guidelines.

This framework is outlined below in order to make our work transparent, as well as enable you to use our database in your academic or professional works.

Section 1 - Definitions & Assumptions

1.1 - Defining 'Insurgency'

Given that the entirety of our work revolves around insurgencies, a clear definition is fundamental. Our definition is adapted from the NATO Counterinsurgency (COIN) doctrine. 

NATO's COIN doctrine outlines three conditions for an insurgency to be classified as one. These conditions include:

Actions or activities by an organised group

01 -

A goal of some form of political change over a ruling regime

02 -

The use of violence or subversive activity.

03 -

According to our adapted definition, a group must demonstrate the first two conditions in order to be an insurgency. However, the third condition is refuted as an absolute pre-requisite and is instead portrayed as be a characteristic (a potential trait) of an insurgency. In essence (and according to our definition) not all insurgencies are violent; violence is a reflection of an insurgency's approach to resistance.

1.2 - Defining 'Violence'

Violence is a relatively ambiguous term. Moreover, there are very severe nuances of violence, as some acts are more 'violent', per se, than others. Consequently, The Modern Insurgent framework defines violence as any action or behaviour which has led to pain, killings, or physical damages.

Importantly, the use of the term 'violence' is not in any way manipulated to frame the actions of a group. When stating that a group's approach to resistance is violent, this simply entails that their definitive actions have hurt, killed, or damaged someone or something.

1.3 - Group Classification

Given these definitions on insurgencies and violence, The Modern Insurgent adopts its own classification system based on a colour code. These colours aid the visualisation of this framework on our Atlas of Modern Insurgent.

'Red Groups' are armed and/or violent.

'Blue Groups' are non-violent and usually focus on political activism rather than armed militancy.

'Green Groups' are ambiguously inactive. They have either disappeared or splintered in recent years.

'Pink Groups' are hacktivist organisations which employ modern and digital approaches to resistance.

Section 2 - Content Structure

2.1 - Structure of Insurgency Reports

In order to mitigate accidental bias or 'framing' techniques as much as possible, all of our Insurgency Reports follow the same structure. This structure is outlined below.

01 -

Insurgency Overview

Insurgency Overviews are simple introductions to our Insurgency Reports. They have no direct substantial value; they serve as overviews with the goal of familiarising the reader with the general actions, ideology, and approaches used by a group.

02 -

History & Foundations

Despite our focus on contemporary security studies, understanding the modern mechanisms of a group requires some historical background knowledge. This section is dedicated to a relevant historical overview of any relevant conflicts (as most insurgencies arise amidst periods of conflict or war) and the general founding events of a group's motivations.

Importantly, our coverage of a group's history is in no way an attempt to address the entire history of a relevant conflict. Our primary focus remains on the insurgency itself, and hence our framework concentrates on the history of the group itself. Histories of relevant conflicts and battles are relatively brief and are solely included to build up the history of a group's ideological foundations.

03 -

Objectives & Ideology

This section focuses on the source of the movement in question. At The Modern Insurgent, we prioritise the extent to which our work can help readers understand political struggle. Doing this requires a deep political analysis of a group's motives, ideology, and the potential presence of a particular sentiment relevant to their uprising.

This section is one of the most susceptible to bias, as it frames the reasons behind a group's willingness to revolt. Henceforth, our editorial board places additional attention when reviewing it. As a whole, we ensure that the sources we cite in this section are not biased and do not come from first-level stakeholders. For example, an article on a Kurdish militia group would not cite a Kurdish, Turkish, Syrian, nor Iraqi source in the 'Objectives & Ideology' section. However, we may occasionally cite first-level stakeholders to highlight how the group itself portrays its own objectives and reasons to revolt (as this is part of understanding their political struggle).

We value and cherish our impartiality and sincerely commit to outlining the ideologies of groups in the fairest, most unbiased ways possible. Moreover, our use of political theory and political labels (i.e 'far-left', 'far-right') are based on their theoretical definitions, and not their relative country-specific interpretations.

04 -

Political & Military Capabilities

The fourth sections of our Reports focus on the political and/or military capabilities of a group. In order to evaluate their regional or local influence, it is fundamental to grasp a group's militant potential. Depending on the nature of the group in question, our authors may wish to focus on its political or military capabilities (or both). In many cases, some groups are solely 'political', per se, whereas others are significantly more militant ('military' or 'paramilitary').

05 -

Approach to Resistance

Section 05 is perhaps one of the most important within our Insurgency Reports, for it elaborates on a group's nature and on the approach it employs to materialise its political struggle. This section determines whether a group is 'red' or 'blue' on our colour-index. Whole some groups may be more violent and their approaches to resistance involve direct force, arms, and/or have led to casualties, their approach to resistance leans towards the 'red' colour-index. However, some groups are less violent and adapt more political, legal ways of protesting (and this would classify them as 'blue' groups).

Importantly, the name of this section does not suggest that all groups are 'resisting'. The Modern Insurgent condemns extremism and reiterates that it is solely a scholarly/academic database of movements from around the world. Some of these movements are significantly more radical and extreme than others, and the name of this section does not in any way aim to legitimise some groups' offences as acts of 'resistance'. 

06 -

Relations & Alliances

In order to understand regional dynamics and get a better understanding of how insurgencies interact (either in positive, negative, or neutral ways), covering a group's relations and alliances is crucial. Some groups have significantly more local alliances (if any), while some interact internationally. This is why the name of this section will vary from article to article.

07 -

Works Cited

As our Reports use credible sources and refer to primary (especially OSINT) and secondary sources of information, we commit to complete transparency. This is why we list our sources at the bottom of each Insurgency Report. Moreover, we allow our writers to choose their preferred citation style. While many of our writers use  theChicago citation style, some also use MLA and APA. The objective is not to enforce a non-flexible constraint to our writers, but rather enable them to demonstrate their research through their favourite citation styles.

2.2 - Structure of News & Analysis

Our News & Analysis articles follow less strict guidelines. Although we prioritise objectivity and non-speculation to the same extent as in our Insurgency Reports, we allow our writers to approach their analysis from the perspective they desire. 

Speculation is not the goal of these articles. Although educated and logical predictions can be made, they are not necessarily encouraged and they do not reflect any of the writers' opinions, values, or convictions.

The objective our N&A pieces is to inform the reader about turning events in global affairs that involve insurgencies or political groups. Our writers are talented scholars and their analytical abilities are a pivotal determinant in their authorship here at The Modern Insurgent.

2.3 - Structure of Interviews

Our interviews with various members of insurgencies or political movements are purely informational. They do not have an intent to frame the interviewee in any way. Our questions will vary depending on the interviewee in question, but most of them will involve the stakeholder's actions, determinations, challenges, and personal stories.

Additionally, we are not responsible for the structures of external podcasts who have invited us on their episodes.

Section 3 - Editorial Procedures & Formalities

3.1 - Writing Procedure

In order to guarantee the cohesion and collaboration of our large team of writers, our writing procedure has been developed to provide a personalised and curated experience. 

01 -

Topic Selection

Our writers are usually discouraged to write about groups from their home countries as this often coincides with unintentional bias (unless they are extremely educated in that group's history). We encourage our writers to select topics that are at the heart of their interests, as this often leads to higher quality articles.

02 -

First Draft

After selecting a topic (whether it is for an Insurgency Report or a News & Analysis article), our writers produce a first draft by following the structures outlined in 2.1 and 2.2. This 'drafting' phase often takes around 2 weeks, as it also includes the research process and the collection of any relevant data.

03 -

Editor Feedback

Our editorial board then reviews all articles submitted by our writers. The editorial board's primary responsibility during the feedback stage is to eliminate any bias, to enforce the respect of the article structure, to correct any spelling/grammar mistakes, and to pinpoint any events or informations that have been ignored in the original submission.

04 -

Second Draft

Our editorial board then reviews all articles submitted by our writers. The editorial board's primary responsibility during the feedback stage is to eliminate any bias, to enforce the respect of the article structure, to correct any spelling/grammar mistakes, and to pinpoint any events or informations that have been ignored in the original submission.

05 -

Publishing

After reviewing the second drafts, we publish the articles if we are pleased with their current state. On some occasions, we may demand a third-round of feedback & review. We also update our articles every 6 months (during the Winter and Summer holidays) to ensure that our work remains contemporary and relevant.

3.2 - Income & Revenue Distribution

Although The Modern Insurgent is entirely independent, we receive a certain amount of income through our Patron donations. These funds are not used individually by any member of the team, whether they are part of the editorial board or not. Our budget is extremely small (and can be seen transparently on our Patreon page), but we store it aside in a 'savings' account. That way, any proceedings will eventually be used for a future project (i.e a documentary).

Importantly, the use of any funds earned through these donations must be approved by the entire team of writers. The editorial board is entirely committed to fairness and will not use any funds for personal purposes under any circumstances. However and as aforementioned, the use of these funds for the sake of the development of The Modern Insurgent must be approved by the entire team. This approval will take place through internal procedures.

In the case that some of our members are contracted or commissioned by another media organisation (for research or other forms of contribution), they receive the income directly and The Modern Insurgent is not involved in this exchange.

3.3 - Transparency & Equality

As is visible through this open-to-all framework, we heavily value transparency and fairness. In the case that we have omitted something you view as important or fundamental, please do not hesitate to reach out and contact us directly (at moderninsurgent123@gmail.com). We respond to all of our emails and will take your demands into consideration.

Furthermore, we cherish equality and diversity. Our team is composed of 20+ nationalities and we do not discriminate against any demographic. In the case that there are some disparities in our team, we emphasise that these are naturally-occurring and are not the product of purposeful discrimination.

bottom of page