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Jihadi Culture
The Art and Social Practices of Militant Islamists

£22.99

Thomas Hegghammer, Robyn Creswell, Bernard Haykel, Nelly Lahoud, Jonathan Pieslak, Afshon Ostovar, Anne Stenersen, Iain R. Edgar, Gwynned de Looijer, David B. Cook
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  • Date Published: June 2017
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107614567

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About the Authors
  • Al-Qaida and Islamic State continue to captivate the world with their extreme violence. While much attention has been given to the operations and doctrines of jihadi groups, this is the first book to explore their culture. Using a wealth of primary sources, the authors examine what goes on inside these organizations and what daily life is like for the foot-soldiers. They show that Islamist militants have a rich aesthetic culture and do much more than fight and train. Life in a jihadi group is in fact filled with poetry and music, and fighters spend time on surprising things like dream interpretation and weeping. Readers will discover an entirely new perspective on radical Islamists: that despite their reputation as macho men, they value humility, artistic sensitivity, and displays of emotion. Cultural practices are essential for understanding the jihadi worldview and may shed important new light on decision-making and recruitment processes in extremist groups. This original book will interest anyone in academia, government, or the general public who is intrigued by the appeal and resilience of the jihadi movement.

    • Offers the first systematic look at the non-military activities of jihadi groups
    • Covers a range of cultural products including music and iconography
    • Provides a different lens through which to view the current spread of Islamist extremism, making a novel argument about the crucial role of emotions in terrorist recruitment
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'A learned tour de force by top scholars in the field, this book reminds us that warrior culture is not the superfluous byproduct of violence but rather the matrix that sustains and nourishes it. For experts and lay readers alike, Jihadi Culture will be a revelation.' Will McCants, The Brookings Institution

    'There has been lots of recent scholarship on the arts of protest, partly because it humanizes the protestors when we see them doing things like writing poetry and playing music. No one has been more demonized in the US and Europe than jihadists, so they have not received this kind of treatment. Until now. A provocative and important book for all of us.' James M. Jasper, City University of New York and author of The Art of Moral Protest

    'Jihadis are often perceived as little more than single-minded fighters and religious fanatics. Here is a book that challenges this view by supplying a remarkable inventory of jihadi cultural practices, ranging from poetry, song, and film all the way down to the interpretation of dreams. By turning our attention to the non-military realm and by stressing the cultural and aesthetic dimension of jihadi ideology and practice, this fascinating book raises new questions and opens up new avenues of research.' Stathis Kalyvas, Arnold Wolfers Professor of Political Science, Yale University, Connecticut

    'Notwithstanding much valuable work on clandestine political organizations, our understanding of them is limited by a tendency to reifying their violent characteristics, forgetting about the other activities these groups perform. This fascinating volume contributes to filling a gap in our knowledge by a systematic analysis of the cultural dimension of the Jihadi movements. A must read contribution for those who want to understand violence.' Donatella della Porta, Dean of the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences, Director of Centre of Social Movements Studies, Scuola Normale Superiore, Italy

    'Using a wealth of primary sources, the contributing authors examine what goes on inside these organizations and what daily life is like for the foot-soldiers. They show that Islamist militants have a rich aesthetic culture and do much more than fight and train. Life in a jihadi group is in fact filled with poetry and music, and fighters spend time on surprising things like dream interpretation and weeping. Readers will discover an entirely new perspective on radical Islamists: that despite their reputation as macho men, they value humility, artistic sensitivity, and displays of emotion. Cultural practices are essential for understanding the jihadi world view and may shed important new light on decision-making and recruitment processes within the varied and diverse jihadi groups.' Jack Mason, Midwest Book Review

    '… in this well-edited and serious volume Thomas Hegghammer - one of the world's foremost experts on jihadism - has put together a collection of essays by an impressive group of scholars analysing what culture Islamism's most adamant adherents might be said to possess.' Douglas Murray, The Spectator

    'A broad and ambitious collection, Jihadi Culture offers a nuanced approach for understanding militant jihadism, not through dry doctrine, but through the power of culture - a subject that warrants such attention.' Rebecca Wolfe, The Times Literary Supplement

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2017
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107614567
    • length: 284 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 153 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.47kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: why study jihadi culture? Thomas Hegghammer
    1. Poetry in jihadi culture Robyn Creswell and Bernard Haykel
    2. A cappella songs (anashid) in jihadi culture Nelly Lahoud
    3. A musicological perspective on jihadi anashid Jonathan Pieslak
    4. The visual culture of jihad Afshon Ostovar
    5. A history of jihadi cinematography Anne Stenersen
    6. The Islamic dream tradition and jihadi militancy Iain R. Edgar and Gwynned de Looijer
    7. Contemporary martyrdom ideology and material culture David B. Cook
    8. Non-military practices in jihadi groups Thomas Hegghammer
    Notes
    Bibliography
    Index.

  • Editor

    Thomas Hegghammer, Norwegian Defence Research Establishment
    Thomas Hegghammer is Director of Terrorism Research at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Oslo. Trained in Middle East Studies at the University of Oxford and at Sciences Po, Paris, he has held fellowships at Harvard, Princeton, New York and Stanford Universities, and at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. He is the author of the prize-winning Jihad in Saudi Arabia (Cambridge, 2010) and many other books and articles on jihadism. He has conducted extensive fieldwork in the Middle East, including interviews with former militants, and he has testified on jihadism in the US Congress and the British Parliament.

    Contributors

    Thomas Hegghammer, Robyn Creswell, Bernard Haykel, Nelly Lahoud, Jonathan Pieslak, Afshon Ostovar, Anne Stenersen, Iain R. Edgar, Gwynned de Looijer, David B. Cook

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