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Entrepreneurs of Identity: The Islamic State’s Symbolic Repertoire

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Volume 25

Integration and Conflict Studies

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Entrepreneurs of Identity

The Islamic State’s Symbolic Repertoire

Christoph Günther

220 pages, 11 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-80073-266-7 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (January 2022)

eISBN 978-1-80073-267-4 eBook


View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“This is a very convincing book, with exceptional endnotes explaining primary sources and the nuances of Islamist writings… I enjoyed the book, learned greatly from it, and highly recommend it to people interested in Islamist militant movements, identity creation and manipulation, and corresponding influence campaigns.” • Middle East Journal

“An excellent study of a contemporary politico-religious movement, which readers, including those who follow current events, will find informative and provocative. The author provides a sophisticated analysis of topical issues such as Sunni-Shii differences, sectarianism, nationalism, and identity politics.” • Lois Beck, Washington University In Saint Louis

“This book provides a valuable new perspective on the Islamic State by exploring how its ideologues, as ‘entrepreneurs of identity’, sought to construct and authorize categories of social identity in order to offer existential and ontological security to its sympathizers.” • Pieter Nanninga, University of Groningen


Describing the Islamic State’s ideologues as ‘entrepreneurs of identity’, this book explores how the group defined categories of social identity and used them as tools of communicative and cognitive structuring. Based on a wide dossier of original texts, speeches, images, and videos, the book examines how these ideologues have built a symbolic repertoire around the black flag as well as ideas and social practices such as the dictum to command good and forbid wrong, the supervision of public behaviour, and the oath of allegiance to the Caliph.

Christoph Günther is the Principal Investigator of the junior research group "Jihadism on the Internet: Images and Videos, Their Dissemination and Appropriation" in the Department of Anthropology and African Studies at the University of Mainz. His recent publications include the co-edited Jihadi Audiovisuality and its Entanglements: Meanings, Aesthetics, Appropriations (Edinburgh University Press, 2020).

Subject: Anthropology of ReligionPolitical and Economic AnthropologyPeace and Conflict Studies
Area: Middle East & Israel


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