Analyzing the role of rhetoric and ideology in the western ‘war on terror’ and Islamic ‘jihad’ in the aftermath of 9/11, Gabriele Marranci shows that we are not experiencing a ‘clash of civilizations’ but a clash among ‘civilizers’ who believe they have the power to define how to be human. Seeing themselves as ‘under attack’ from a globalizing world that threatens to dilute their identity and very existence, both sides employ a civilizational rhetoric to support its recourse to political violence. Examining why some individuals are radicalized to take violent action while the majority are not, the author compares the case of self-identified crusader Anders Breivik with an example from his own fieldwork. He shows that emotions such as indignation, sense of injustice and reaction to the killing of civilians play an important role in underpinning violent acts – as do the views presented by the ‘civilizers’ on the other side. Over time, this leads to ever-greater escalation as one side calls for more jihad and the other for greater anti-terrorism measures, drone attacks and bombings. Based on twelve years of research and fieldwork in western countries as well as South and Southeast Asia, Wars of Terror shows the impact labels, stigma, conspiracy theories and stereotypes have in maintaining this ongoing global conflict. A fascinating anthropological study which makes a vital contribution to our understanding of one of the most important issues of our time.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Introduction Chapter 2: The Concept of CivilizationChapter 3: Labels, Stigmas and EthosChapter 4: Occidentalism, Conspiracism and JahiliyyaChapter 5: “Your Women are Oppressed, but Ours are Awesome”Chapter 6: Drones, Jihad and JusticeChapter 7: ConclusionReferencesIndex
Gabriele Marranci is Director of the Study Contemporary Muslim Lives research hub at the Department of Anthropology, Macquarie University, Australia. He is author of Jihad Beyond Islam (Bloomsbury, 2006) and The Anthropology of Islam (Bloomsbury, 2008). He also holds an honorary senior affiliation at the Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK, Cardiff University, and is Founding Editor of the journal Contemporary Islam: Dynamics of Muslim Lives.
"As we all know, and as Gabriele Marranci stresses in the introduction to his intelligent new work, the frame or discourse of terrorism in recent years (especially since 9/11) has shifted from 'crime' to 'war,' calling naturally for a different response … The surprising but convincing position of the book, though, is that both sides in this clash of values make roughly the same argument about the other, which boils down to the profound anthropological question of how to be a human. - Anthropology Review Database - Jack David Eller Wars of Terror is a significant contribution to one of the most problematic contemporary concerns. It should be read by anyone who wishes to develop a more nuanced understanding of the issues, emotions and ideas at stake ... For anthropologists, in particular, the book should both inspire us both to apply the discipline’s canon to global issues, and to explore the current limitations of our methods and understandings. - Anthropology of Contemporary Middle East and Central Eurasia"