Dualisms in Jihad
Published: 25 March 2022
Abstract: This paper explores how metaphors are employed in jihadist magazines to promote a dichotomist worldview of ‘us’ versus ‘them’, ‘good’ versus ‘bad’, ‘east’ versus ‘west’ and ‘right’ versus ‘wrong’. It argues that juxtapositions in both language and thought help writers to reaffirm and/or challenge certain paradigms. The approach uses critical metaphor analysis (Charteris-Black 2004) to investigate qualitative evidence of conceptual metaphors, focusing on the domains life is a seed, conflict is a relationship between predator and prey, and faith is light/lack of faith is darkness. Dichotomous language in these domains (e.g., ‘seed’ versus ‘weed’; ‘sheep’ versus ‘wolves’; the ‘spark of Jihad’ versus the ‘shadow’ of Western governments) helps to position extremist groups on the right side of a number of paradigms. The use of binary metaphors also permits simultaneously conflicting conceptualisations; for instance, jihadists are both innocent victims and merciless defenders of their faith, depending on with whom or what they are juxtaposed. The research concludes that the use of binary metaphors serves to underscore entrenched paradigms of ‘good’ versus ‘bad’, thus allowing the writers to frame their discourse in a way that justifies and promotes their extremist agenda.
Keywords: metaphors / paradigms / jihadist / writers / seed / binary / bad / good / faith / language
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