Violence and Political Myth: Radicalizing Believers in the Pages of Inspire Magazine

Xander Kirke*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Violent Jihadist movements have increasingly produced online English
language magazines in order to encourage young Muslims into terrorism.
This article argues that sociological approaches to the study of
these magazines should engage with theories of political myth, understood
as the collective “work” on dramatic and figurative narratives
which provide significance to the political conditions of social groups.
The utility of this approach is demonstrated through an analysis of al-
Qaeda’s online magazine, Inspire. Targeted toward an alienated young
Western Muslim readership, Inspire stylistically mimics Western magazines
by using satirical representations of politicians and making references
to popular culture. The authors seek to convince their readership
that they are part of a violent conflict with Western “crusaders” and
treacherous false Muslims. Through a rhetorical strategy of “legitimization
via proximization,” perceived injustices committed by the purported
enemies of Islam throughout the world are seen as direct attacks
on the reader and all Muslims. The reader must sacrifice his/her livelihood
in order to become a “hero” and defend the Umma against its enemies.
The article concludes that the mobilizing potential of the work on
myth in these magazines necessitates further research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-298
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Political Sociology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


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