Re-thinking conceptual approaches to modern Islamic terrorism: a genealogy of ISIS and the dynamism of Salafi-Jihadism

Hagans, Roger Chase (2021) Re-thinking conceptual approaches to modern Islamic terrorism: a genealogy of ISIS and the dynamism of Salafi-Jihadism. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Acts of political violence under the broad categorisation of ‘Islamic terrorism’ are a pervasive socio-political problem in the modern geo-political environment. Furthermore, in the nearly two decades since September 11th 2001, Salafi-Jihadist organisations such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS have emerged to symbolise potent counterpoints to models of legitimacy and sovereignty championed by Western powers, and rely on narratives of justified violence to achieve their ultimate ambitions which defy parameters of conventional Western morality in an increasingly globalised world. This thesis attempts to broaden academic and policy discussions regarding the endurance of the threat posed by violent Salafi-Jihadism by re-examining actors according to their own socio-cultural reference points, and in relation to those classified as ‘other’. It intends to provide a holistic examination in a manner which has yet to be undertaken in the fields of terrorism, international relations, or religious studies.
This thesis employs a Foucauldian genealogy of ISIS to deconstruct the problematisation of Islamic terrorism in the context of the Global War on Terror by scrutinising fundamental aspects of social group dynamics, the potency of religious ideology, and the symbiotic relationship between violence and ideology. It further reconstructs the emergence of ISIS by drawing on reference points unique to its own self-perception of cosmological and temporal history. Finally, this thesis analyses and reconsiders the utility of current frameworks in use for the study of terrorism. By genealogically scrutinising ISIS, and de-constructing the very understanding of the term ‘terrorism’ as employed by Western actors as a fluid concept in a power-knowledge nexus, this thesis argues for the necessity of alternate categorisations for the conceptualisation of actors in a contested geo-political social space.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Terrorism, Islam, Salafi-Jihadism, Islamic State, Iraq War, Global War on Terrorism, social group dynamics, religious theory, philosophies of violence, cross-cultural studies, interdisciplinary, genealogy.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > Theology and Religious Studies
College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Supervisor's Name: Ridgeon, Dr. Lloyd
Date of Award: 2021
Depositing User: Mr. Roger Chase Hagans
Unique ID: glathesis:2021-82047
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2021 08:11
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2021 08:28
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82047

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