Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE credits
This thesis explores the construction of the Self and Other in the official and semi-official female-oriented propaganda discourse of the extremist group that call itself Islamic State (IS). A deeper knowledge of the ways in which IS construct identities for women is vital to the understanding of how the group tries to control the discourse about women’s role in the so-called caliphate and uses it as a recruitment tool.
The propaganda is analysed from a discourse theoretical approach, building on the theory of Laclau and Mouffe, and is then discussed in the light of social identity theory (SIT). When examining propaganda directed to English and Arabic female target groups, eight ways in which IS has constructed the identities of women in its so-called caliphate was found. Within representations of the Self, five different identity constructions were found; The Righteous Muslim, The Wife of the Mujahid, The Divine Mother, The Noble Widow and The Part-Time Community Servant. When analysing representations of the Other, three different constructions were found; The Western Disbeliever, The Deceptive Muslim and The Jihadi Warrior. The latter is actually an in-group, since it refers to the male members of IS, but The Jihadi Warrior also function as an Other since the men of IS are everything that women are not.
The propaganda discourse of IS largely revolve around the notion of us and them, in-groups and out-groups, or as referred to in this thesis, the Self and Other. This is coherent with how SIT suggests that a shared sense of identity strengthens the bonds within a certain group at the same time as it is alienating relevant out-groups. In the female-oriented propaganda discourse of IS, the out-group Other is often used as a way of strengthening the Self. According to SIT, group members often tend to be prejudicial against the out-group and in the analysed propaganda, the out-group Other is constructed around notions of ignorance, tyranny and impurity while the Self appears as the exact opposite; righteous, pure and divine.
Statsvetenskap med inriktning mot krishantering och säkerhet (Master's programme in Politics and War)