Date of Award

2022

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Communication

First Advisor

Marwan M. Kraidy

Abstract

This dissertation is a comprehensive critical inquiry into the discourse of the Islamic State (IS) group. Conducting a multi-perspectival discourse analysis of its constructions of collective identity, subjectivity, political community, and statehood, I propose that IS’s ideology, as manifested through its discourse, is a (counter)hegemonic articulation to what the group considers a multilayered and multidimensional crisis of meaning engulfing Muslim communities and, by extension, the broader world today. The ideology, embodying a metanarrative with its grand theory on the historical progression and telos of Muslim collective life, views the present moment of crisis as the outcome of a millennium-long metaprocess of de-Islamification. De-Islamification is characterized by the fading away of the authentic form of the Islamic creed as putatively practiced by the early idealized salaf generation of the religion and the decline of Islam’s role in shaping political and social life. To remedy this, IS formulates a distinct, exclusionary, and totalizing system of meaning, centered on its interpretation of Islam, whereby it discursively aims to interpellate an ideologically unique Homo Islamicus subject who is tied to a tawhidi-caliphal identity and is tasked with radically reconfiguring, primarily through armed means, the Muslim and global social and political life. To that end, the group also espouses distinct visions of political community and statehood in the form of an ever-expansionist, planetary Muslim umma tethered to a caliphate state. The establishment of this coterminous umma-caliphal entity entails derecognizing the nation, and dismantling the nation state and its human-centered system of meaning and sovereignty. The IS caliphate is chiefly to serve as the vehicle for the otherworldly salvation of Muslims, while ensuring this-worldly supremacy of Islam and the global domination of the Sunni Muslim community. Ultimately, IS’s ideological discourse predicated on such articulations of identity, subjectivity, community, and statehood/sovereignty is designed to institute a narrow interpretation of Islam as a culture, in the sense of a whole way of life, upon which the entirety of the social is to be reimagined and reorganized.

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Available to all on Saturday, July 05, 2025

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Communication Commons

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