Dr. Marika Sosnowski

Research Fellow

  • Short CV

    • Since 09/2020: Research Fellow at the GIGA Institute of Middle East Studies (Funding: Fritz Thyssen Foundation)

    • 03/2020 - 08/2020: Associate at the GIGA Institute of Middle East Studies

    • 2017 - 2019: PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne, Australia; Thesis: Ceasefires as Statebuilding

    • 2014 - 2015: Admission as a lawyer to the Supreme Court of Victoria, Legal traineeship: Flemington Kensington Community Legal Centre, Melbourne, Australia

    • Education: PhD University of Melbourne; Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

    Current Research

    • War-to-peace transitions

    • Ceasefires

    • Political order

    • Local rebel governance

    • Legal systems

    Countries and Regions

    • Syria

    Research Programmes


    • Syrian Studies Association 2020 Dissertation Prize

    Dr. Marika Sosnowski

    Research Fellow


    GIGA Focus Middle East | 4/2021

    “The Right to Have Rights”: Legal Identity Documentation in the Syrian Civil War

    During the civil war in Syria, various actors issued legal identity documents. The disadvantages of this web of interlocking documents for people's – especially women’s – parental, inheritance and property rights are analysed in this GIGA Focus Middle East.

    Dr. Marika Sosnowski

    Research Fellow

    Noor Hamadeh

    Chapter in edited Volume | 2021

    Legal Identity and Rebel Governance: A Comparative Perspective on Lived Consequence of Contested Sovereignty

    With contributions from different stakeholders this volume rejects the idea that statelessness is a problem. It argues that the reality of statelessness helps to uncover a more fundamental challenge: the problem of citizenship.

    Ass. Prof. Dr. Katharine Fortin

    Dr. Bart Klem

    POMEPS Studies | 10/2020

    Citizenship Constellations in Syria

    Dr. Marika Sosnowski

    Research Fellow

    Research Project | 01/09/2020 - 31/08/2022

    Syria’s “Post-war” Landscape

    The architecture of “post-conflict” Syria is intrinsically linked to war dynamics, making it far from a tabula rasa but replete with a range of competing forms of authority. This project investigates the changing nature of the Syrian state and its interactions with non-state actors such as militia leaders, economic elites, tribal leaders, international organisations and investors. It focuses on three topics: local security providers and governance; legal identity; housing, land and property rights.
    Fritz Thyssen Foundation, 2020-2022

    Good Will Hunters | Interview | 19/10/2020

    The Free Kylie Campaign - Where to from here?

    Speaker | 26/08/2021

    Citizenship constellations in Syria

    Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness Parkville VIC: 26/08/2021

    During the civil war the gap left by the Syrian state in providing legal identity documentation has been filled by a range of other actors in different territorial areas: the Syrian Interim Government and Syrian National Coalition primarily in Aleppo and Idlib in the north and Daraa and Quneitra in the south; the Islamic State in Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor and Hassakeh in the east; Jabhat al-Nusra’s Salvation Government in Idlib; and, most recently, Turkey in the northern Euphrates Shield zone. However, as yet, this phenomenon of ‘citizenship constellations’ created by de jure and de facto authorities has not received dedicated attention.

    This talk begins to rectify this by adding to scholarship on citizenship and rebel governance to question how non-state actors in Syria are going about establishing legal identity; what non-state issued documents this results in; and, the interplay between Syrian state and non-state based documentation systems.

    This issue is of practical importance because in times of armed conflict, life does not pause – children continue to be born, people die, marry and divorce – and these life-events need to be documented. While documentation issued by de facto sovereigns may help people living amidst civil war to secure entitlements such as access to humanitarian aid, local justice mechanisms, healthcare, education and freedom of movement not having births (or deaths) registered can have major negative consequences, including the risk of statelessness.

    Additionally, when the fortunes of the insurgency change, as it did in Syria, such documentation can threaten people’s welfare because the de jure authority i.e. the Syrian regime, takes these documents as evidence of being on the ‘wrong’ side. For academics, policy-makers and practitioners the topic raises profound questions about the way we understand citizenship, insurgencies, sovereign states and legality.

    Dr. Marika Sosnowski

    Research Fellow

    Consultant | 14/10/2020 - 21/10/2020

    Ceasefires - Joint Analysis Workshop

    Workshop 14/10/2020 - 21/10/2020

    Expert workshop organised by Conciliation Resources

    Dr. Marika Sosnowski

    Research Fellow

    Consultant | 23/09/2020

    Russia's Role in Syria: Mapping and Analysis Workshop

    Workshop 23/09/2020

    Expert workshop organised by the European Institute of Peace

    Dr. Marika Sosnowski

    Research Fellow


    Sign up to receive email notifications about GIGA activities

    Social Media

    Follow us