Understanding non-state actorhood: the case of the YPG
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Abstract: This thesis assesses the actorhood and agency of a violent non-state actor, the People’s Protection Unit (YPG), through Aydinli’s (2015, 2016) “Autonomy, Representation, Influence” (ARI) analytical and theoretical framework. The theory depicts the agency of this violent non-state actor (VNSA) via its aspects of “autonomy, representation and influence” between the 2014-2020 timeframe. This research shows how the YPG has transformed and continues to survive, despite threats to its actorhood from other VNSAs and states alike, while seeking to emphasize the increased autonomy, representation, and influence that the VNSA has had over the years. In doing so, it aims to also critique and provide suggestions to improve the ARI framework. This research also relies on supportive semi-structured interviews conducted with academicians, public officials, and politicians to analyze and gather insight on the YPG’s actorhood from experts on the field.