Departmental Papers (ASC)

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version


Publication Source

media, culture and Society





Start Page


Last Page





Islamic State’s (IS) image-warfare presents an auspicious opportunity to grasp the growing role of digital images in emerging configurations of global conflict. To understand IS’ image-warfare, this article explores the central role of digital images in the group’s war spectacle and identifies a key modality of this new kind of warfare: global networked affect. To this end, the analysis focuses on three primary sources: two Arabic-language IS books, Management of Savagery (2004) and O’ Media Worker, You Are a Mujahid!, 2nd Edition (2016), and a video, Healing the Believers’ Chests (2015), featuring the spectacular burning of a Jordanian air force pilot captured by IS. It uses the method of ‘iconology’ within a case-study approach. I analyze IS’ doctrine of image-warfare explained in the two books and, in turn, examine how this doctrine is executed in IS video production, conceptualizing digital video as a specific permutation of moving digital images uniquely able to enact, and via repetition, to maintain, visual and narrative tension between movement and stillness, speed and slowness, that diffuses global network affect. Using a theoretical framework combining spectacle, new media phenomenology, and affect theory, the article concludes that global networked affect is projectilic, mimicking fast, lethal, penetrative objects. IS visual warfare, I argue, is best understood through the notion of the ‘projectilic image’.

Copyright/Permission Statement

Kraidy, M., "The Projectilic Image: Islamic State’s Digital Visual Warfare and Global Networked Affect", Media, Culture and Society, 39(8), pp. 1194-1209. Copyright © [2017] (Sage). Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications


digital image, digital video, global networked affect, ISIL, ISIS, Islamic State, operative image, projectilic image, spectacle

Included in

Communication Commons



Date Posted: 10 September 2021

This document has been peer reviewed.