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Terrorist Self-Fashioning: Politics, Identity and the Making of “Martyrdom” Videos – From the 7/7 Bombers to 'Four Lions'


Frank, Michael C (2019). Terrorist Self-Fashioning: Politics, Identity and the Making of “Martyrdom” Videos – From the 7/7 Bombers to 'Four Lions'. In: Riquet, Johannes; Heusser, Martin. Imaging Identity: Text, Mediality and Contemporary Visual Culture. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 237-258.

Abstract

Released in 2010, the film "Four Lions" by British director Chris Morris gives a voice to the tabooed figure of the Islamic suicide terrorist by including key sequences depicting the shooting of martyrdom videos. As these sequences suggest, the performance for the camera is the moment in which ordinary individuals become terrorists by presenting themselves as such to an implied audience, even before they have committed actual acts of violence. In this way, "Four Lions" not only illustrates the complex entanglements of personal identity, political reality, power and (self-)representation, but also reminds us of the essentially communicative dimension of terrorism. Drawing on recent approaches to terrorism as rhetoric, the present chapter analyses the martyrdom messages of the 7/7 suicide bombers Mohammad Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer before looking at the satirical references to these (and other) instances of jihadist communication in Morris’s film, which mainly explores the form of martyrdom messages (as vehicles for remaking the self) while arguably downplaying their political content.

Abstract

Released in 2010, the film "Four Lions" by British director Chris Morris gives a voice to the tabooed figure of the Islamic suicide terrorist by including key sequences depicting the shooting of martyrdom videos. As these sequences suggest, the performance for the camera is the moment in which ordinary individuals become terrorists by presenting themselves as such to an implied audience, even before they have committed actual acts of violence. In this way, "Four Lions" not only illustrates the complex entanglements of personal identity, political reality, power and (self-)representation, but also reminds us of the essentially communicative dimension of terrorism. Drawing on recent approaches to terrorism as rhetoric, the present chapter analyses the martyrdom messages of the 7/7 suicide bombers Mohammad Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer before looking at the satirical references to these (and other) instances of jihadist communication in Morris’s film, which mainly explores the form of martyrdom messages (as vehicles for remaking the self) while arguably downplaying their political content.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > English Department
Dewey Decimal Classification:820 English & Old English literatures
Language:English
Date:2019
Deposited On:06 Jan 2020 09:11
Last Modified:07 Apr 2020 07:24
Publisher:Palgrave Macmillan
ISBN:978-3-030-21773-0
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-21774-7_11
Related URLs:https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-21774-7#toc (Publisher)

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