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The communication of horrorism: a typology of ISIS online death videos

Chouliaraki, Lilie and Kissas, Angelos (2018) The communication of horrorism: a typology of ISIS online death videos. Critical Studies in Media Communication, 35 (1). 24 - 39. ISSN 1529-5036

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Identification Number: 10.1080/15295036.2017.1393096


In this article, the authors theorize the communicative logic of ISIS online death videos—from the burning and shooting of individual hostages to mass battleground executions. Drawing on Adriana Cavarero’s reflections on contemporary violence, they demonstrate how ISIS’ digital spectacles of the annihilated body confront Western viewers with horror— or rather with different “regimes of horrorism” (grotesque, abject and sublime horror). These spectacles of horror, the authors argue, mix Western with Islamic aesthetic practices and secular with religious moral claims so as to challenge dominant hierarchies of grievability (who is worthy of our grief) and norms of subjectivity. In so doing, the authors conclude, ISIS introduces into global spaces of publicity a “spectacular thanatopolitics”—a novel form of thanatopolitics that brings the spectacle of the savaged body, banished from display since the 19th century, back to the public stage, thereby turning the pursuit of death into the new norm of heroic subjectivity

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 National Communication Association
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 05 Feb 2018 15:09
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2024 06:48

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