Othering the West in the online Jihadist propaganda magazines Inspire and Dabiq
This paper examines how the jihadist terrorist groups Al Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State discursively construct ‘the West’ as an alien, aberrant ‘other’ in their respective online propaganda magazines Inspire and Dabiq over a 5 year period (2010–2015). The analysis integrates insights from the field of Terrorism Studies into a Corpus Assisted Discourse Studies approach, working centrally with the notions of othering and conventionalised impoliteness. Our findings reveal not only that othering is a key discursive process in the groups’ online propaganda machinery but that it is discursively realised via homogenisation, suppression (stereotyping) and pejoration strategies. The latter are further examined via the notion of conventional impoliteness. Pointed criticism emerges as the most frequent conventionalised impoliteness strategy in both magazines. Threats, condescension and exclusion strategies are also saliently used, albeit with different relative frequencies within each magazine. The findings show the value of Discourse Analysis to research into (jihadist) terrorism, including the possibility of drawing upon its findings to develop tailored counter-messages to those advanced by (jihadist) terrorist groups.
Keywords: Jihad, online propaganda magazines, Al Qaeda, Islamic State, Inspire, Dabiq , conventionalised impoliteness, othering
Published online: 02 July 2018
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