Symbolism in Terrorism: Motivation, Communication, and Behavior

Symbolism in Terrorism: Motivation, Communication, and Behavior

By: Jonathan Matusitz (author)Paperback

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The symbolic value of targets is what differentiates terrorism from other forms of extreme violence. Terrorism is designed to inflict deep psychological wounds on an enemy rather than demolish its material ability to fight. The September 11, 2001 attacks, for example, demonstrated the power of symbolism. The World Trade Center was targeted by Al Qaeda because the Twin Towers epitomized Western civilization, U.S. imperialism, financial success, modernity, and freedom. The symbolic character of terrorism is the focus of this textbook. A comprehensive analysis, it incorporates descriptions, definitions, case studies, and theories. Each chapter focuses on a specific dimension of symbolism in terrorism and explains the contexts and processes that involve the main actors as well as the symbolism of both the purposes and targets of terrorism. Also discussed are new religious movements, which represent another important aspect of terrorism, such as Aum Shinrikyo, the Japanese cult that used sarin gas in the Tokyo subway in 1995. Over forty areas of symbolism are covered throughout the chapters, including physical and non-physical symbolism, linguistic symbolism, the social construction of reality, rituals, myths, performative violence, iconoclasm, brand management, logos, semiotics, new media, and the global village. This allows for an in-depth examination of many issues, such as anti-globalization, honor killing, religious terrorism, suicide terrorism, martyrdom, weapons, female terrorism, public communication, visual motifs, and cyberspace. Main concepts are clearly defined, and followed by theory illustrated by international case studies. Chapter summaries, key points, review questions, research and practice suggestions are recurring components as well. This groundbreaking text encompasses all major aspects of symbolism in terrorism and will be an essential resource for anyone studying terrorism.

About Author

Jonathan Matusitz is a tenured associate professor in the Nicholson School of Communication at the University of Central Florida. He has also taught at a NATO-affiliated military base in Belgium and is doing research on suicide terrorism for the Ministry of Defense in India. In 2011, his research was cited by the U.S. Supreme Court.


Introduction 1. What Is Symbolism? Symbol: Origin of the Word Symbolism: General Description Anthroposemiosis Meaning-Making Symbol vs. Sign Three Categories of Symbols Physical Symbols Nonphysical Symbols Summary 2. Interpreting Symbolism in Terrorism: A First Step Definition of Terrorism Defining Terrorism with Symbolic Elements Terrorism as Performative Violence Terrorism as a Transnational Injustice Symbol Linguistic Symbolism in Terrorism: Irish and Arabic Linguistic Symbolism in Terrorism: Name-Giving Codes Terror Glorification: Symbolic Palestinian Terrorists Terror Glorification: Symbolic Timing September 11, 1565, September 11, 1683, and September 11, 1697 April 19, 1993 Summary 3. Symbolic Targets Targets of Terrorism Impact on the Audience Attacking Sacred Symbols: Iconoclasm Clash of Civilizations The World Trade Center as a Symbolic Target Blowback Theory Liquid Modernity Westoxification Anti-Globalization Anti-Multiculturalism Summary 4. The Symbolic Culture of Terrorism Culture: Definition Symbolic Interactionism Organizational Culture Positive Cult vs. Negative Cult Ritual Ritual Terrorism Honor Killing Summary 5. Myth in Symbolic Terrorism Myth: Description Symbolic DNA of Terrorism Symbolic Convergence Theory (SCT) Symbolic Cue, Fantasy Type, and Saga Case Study of SCT: Earth Liberation Front (ELF) Case Study of SCT: Hezbollah Symbolic Trinity Symbolic Trinity and Propaganda Symbolic Trinity and Myth Fabrication Case Study of the Symbolic Trinity: Nazism Case Study of the Symbolic Trinity: Maharashtrian Terrorism Summary 6. Symbolic Place and Territory in Terrorism Place and Territory as Symbolism Ethnonationalism Terra Sancta Persuasive Cartography Terrorist Murals Case Study I: Murals in Northern Ireland Case Study II: Murals in the Palestinian Territories Summary 7. Symbolism in Religious Terrorism: General Perspectives Religious Terrorism Five Principles of Religion Threat of Secularization Good vs. Evil Dar al-Islam vs. Dar al-Harb Dehumanization of Enemies Contrast Symbols and Totalism Violent New Religious Movements (VNRMs) Case Study of VNRM: Aum Shinrikyo Supernatural Forces in Warfare Summary 8. Hindu, Sikh, Christian, and Jewish Terrorism Hindu Terrorism Tamil Tigers Sikh Terrorism Christian Terrorism Jewish Terrorism Summary 9. Islamist Terrorism Global Support for Islamist Terrorism Violence against Unbelievers in the Qur'an Symbolic Meanings of Jihad Salafi Symbolism The Caliphate: Symbol of Global Domination Islamic Revival The Muslim Brotherhood The Mahdi Summary 10. Symbolism in Suicide Terrorism Suicide Terrorism: Description Brief History and Statistics on Suicide Terrorism Case Study: Kurdistan Workers' Party Weapon of Mass Persuasion Categories of Suicide Terrorism Martyrdom Istishhad Status Symbol Culture of Death Sacrifice Hunger Strike as Martyrdom Summary 11. Symbolism of Terrorist Weapons Terrorist Weapons: General Perspectives Examples of Symbolic Terrorist Weapons Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) The Sword in Islamist Culture Islamist Beheadings Four Categories of Beheading Gender Communal Terrorism Twelve Symbolic Reasons for War Rape Summary 12. Symbolism in Female Terrorism Facts on Female Terrorism Gender Role Reversal Female Terrorism as Continuity of the Fight Female Terrorism as Strategic Desirability Female Terrorism as Revenge Female Terrorism as Restoration of Honor Female Terrorism as Change Beautiful Female Terrorists Summary 13. Brand Management in Terrorism Public Communication Brand Management Case Study: The Brand of Hezbollah Appropriation of Symbols Case Study I: Islamist Terrorism Case Study II: Shining Path Terrorists' Dress Code as Brand Management Keffiyeh: Brand of Palestinian Resistance Terrorist Chic Summary 14. Visual Motifs in Islamist Terrorism Visual Motifs Conceptual Metaphor Theory Case Study I: Waterfalls Case Study II: Hands Case Study III: The Color Black Low Context vs. High Context Case Study I: Lions Case Study II: Doves Summary 15. Semiotic Analysis of Terrorism Definition of Semiotics Saussurean Semiotics Peircean Semiotics Case Study of Peircean Semiotics: 9/11 The Icon-Index-Symbol Triad Case Study of Icon-Index-Symbol: Munich Massacre Summary 16. Symbolic Terrorism in the Global Village Global Village New Media-Oriented Terrorism E-Jihad Three Stages of E-Jihad Indoctrination YouTube Effect Virtual Caliphate Sikh Separatists' Websites Extreme-Right Groups in Cyberspace Kamikaze Cyberpunk Summary Glossary

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9781442235786
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 354
  • ID: 9781442235786
  • weight: 640
  • ISBN10: 1442235780

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