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Al Qaeda, the Islamic State and the Terrorist Identity: A Qualitative Comparatative Case-study on the Strategic Self-Presented Identities of the Global Jihadist Groups
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Studies.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This study focuses on the Strategic Self-presented identity of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, two global militant Islamic groups. Parallels are often drawn between the two groups creating a generalized image of global jihadists. This thesis argues that although certain comparisons may be made, the two groups differ in their identity and tactics. Therefore, in order to gain a deeper understanding of the violent groups it is key to analyze and compare how the two groups wish to be perceived. Through a qualitative comparative case-study this thesis sets out to recognize the strategic self-presented identities of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. By combining the Terrorist Identity by Arena & Arrigo (2006) and Goffman’s (1959) theory of self-presentation via a theory building method this thesis argues that Al Qaeda encompasses a victim role to legitimize their cause. To the contrary, The Islamic State upholds a martial role, building on a sense of wrongdoing, violently reclaiming a geographical and social arena which they claim is rightfully theirs. The Strategic Self-presented identities of the two jihadist groups stand contrary to each other. The Islamic State proudly stands for a state which they claim deserves to be legitimized and welcomes new members to join them within their borders. Al Qaeda on the other hand continues their decentralized struggle against their suppressive opposition. The research behind the paper is a desk-study method, which practically has taken form by gathering photos, videos, interviews, statements, magazines and other outward directed documents released by Al Qaeda and the Islamic, hence, the messages which the jihadist groups wish to share with outsiders.     



Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 54 p.
Keyword [en]
Terrorism, Identity, Strategic Self-presentation, Al Qaeda, the Islamic State
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-44120OAI: diva2:820497
Educational program
Peace and Development Programme, 180 credits
Available from: 2015-06-15 Created: 2015-06-12 Last updated: 2015-06-15Bibliographically approved

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