Power, Discourse and Victimage Ritual in the War on Terror: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Power, Discourse and Victimage Ritual in the War on Terror

1st Edition

By Michael Blain


176 pages

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Blending concepts from 'dramatism' such as 'victimage ritual' with Foucault's approach to modern power and knowledge regimes, this book presents a novel and illuminating perspective on political power and domination resulting from the global war on terrorism. With attention to media sources and political discourse within the context of the global war on terror, the author draws attention to the manner in which power elites construct scapegoats by way of a victimage ritual, thus providing themselves with a political pretext for extending their power and authority over new territories and populations, as well as legitimating an intensification of domestic surveillance and social control. A compelling analysis of ritual rhetoric and political violence, Power, Discourse and Victimage Ritual in the War on Terror will be of interest to sociologists, political theorists and scholars of media and communication concerned with questions of surveillance and social control, political communication, hegemony, foreign policy and the war on terror.


’Blain offers a methodical rhetorical analysis of historical and contemporary American elite political and news discourse on terrorism. He combines this with wide-ranging sociological and cultural perspectives to reflect critically on the discursive power effects of the US-led War on Terror (2001-). This produces important insights on how this War�, despite surface appearances, is a strategy for mobilizing and justifying American political violence.’ Vian Bakir, Bangor University, UK 'Michael Blain’s book offers new insight into the ritual rhetoric and political violence evident in the war on terror discourse. Combining the concepts of ’dramatism’ and ’victimage ritual’ with Foucault’s approach to power relations and knowledge, Blain’s account offers an interesting analysis of the way in which American political violence since 9/11 has been justified through the war on terror discourse. … Power, Discourse and Victimage Ritual in the War on Terror adds new interpretations of the global war on terrorism, by merging Burke’s dramatism and victimage rituals with more current thinking on the relationship between politics and violence.This book can be recommended to those interested in the role of discourse in politics and more specifically the war on terror, state control and surveillance as well as US foreign policy and hegemony.' Political Studies Review

About the Author

Michael Blain is Professor of Sociology at Boise State University, USA, and author of The Politics of Death and The Sociology Terrorism.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General