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Jihad and Death

The Global Appeal of Islamic State

Olivier Roy



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C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd
01 April 2017
Islamic State has replaced Al Qaeda as the great global threat of the twenty-first century, the bogeyman we have all come to fear. But Daesh started as a local movement, rooted in the resentment of the Sunni Arabs of Iraq and Syria. It is they who have lost most in the geo-strategic shift in the balance of power in the region over the last thirty years, as Iranian-backed Shias have mobilised politically and advanced on the social and economic fronts. How has Islamic State been able to muster support far beyond its initial constituency in the Arab world and to attract tens of thousands of foreign volunteers, including converts to Islam, and seemingly countless supporters online? In this compelling intervention into the debate about Islamic State's origins and future prospects, the renowned French sociologist of religion, Olivier Roy, argues that the group mobilised a highly sophisticated narrative, reviving the myth of the Caliphate and recasting it into a modern story of heroism, death and nihilism, using a very contemporary aesthetic of violence, well entrenched amid a youth culture that has turned global and violent.
By:   Olivier Roy
Imprint:   C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 216mm,  Width: 138mm, 
ISBN:   9781849046985
ISBN 10:   1849046980
Pages:   160
Publication Date:   01 April 2017
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  Primary ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Olivier Roy is one of the most distinguished analysts of and commentators on political Islam in the Middle East and Central Asia. The author of several highly acclaimed books, four of which are published by Hurst, he is Professor at the European University Institute in Florence.

Reviews for Jihad and Death: The Global Appeal of Islamic State

'A bravura outing, pithy, prosecutorial, and informed ... Roy writes with verve ... magisterial.' * The Guardian * 'Roy's brisk work is full of imaginative leaps, and that is what gives it value. There has been too much circular writing about the 'mind of the terrorist', too many assumptions about their supposed brainwashing. By examining the significance of death for these jihadists, he can dismantle their manifold confusions.' * The Times * 'Mr Roy, a French authority on Islamism, regards IS as the monstrously inflated product of its own propaganda; it is, he says, first and foremost a death cult .... He believes IS's strongest weapon is people's fear of it ... All this is a stimulating counterblast to much conventional thinking.' * The Economist * 'Roy is one of the most interestingly provocative thinkers on modern jihadism. In this excellent short book, the French academic reiterates his argument that we are seeing not the radicalisation of Islam but the Islamisation of radicalism. ' * Prospect * 'Olivier Roy... gives interesting, if not controversial, insights into the factors motivating terrorists...For those concerned about the increase in terrorist acts (and, quite frankly, who isn't?), then, this book is essential reading... [Roy] makes us think, and encourages us to challenge and reassess received opinions.' -- Church Times 'Impressive.' -- CHOICE 'Olivier Roy's work is always provocative and informative, and this book is no exception. Roy provides new insights into violence, its modern jihadi aesthetic, and radicalisation and its relationship to Islam. Without question, an essential contribution.' * Tariq Ramadan * 'An extraordinary work from a master scholar. Olivier Roy clinically unpacks the supposed relationship between religion and radicalisation, warning that a focus on caliphal pretensions of ISIS obscures the core challenges of nihilism, generational revolt, and a radical repudiation of social norms.' * James Piscatori, Deputy Director, Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies, Australian National University * 'More interested in actual processes than in opportunistic concepts, Olivier Roy describes how the self-proclaimed Islamic State plays more on its enemies fears than on its own strength. A very welcome and eye-opening intervention.' * Jean-Pierre Filiu, Professor of Middle East Studies, Sciences Po, and author of From Deep State to Islamic State * 'With analytical depth, historical sensitivity and a comparative lens, Olivier Roy brings the analysis of jihad and death in the current radicalism to a new level. A must-read.' * Asef Bayat, Professor of Sociology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign * 'Roy argues for a comparative sociological approach focused on the motivations of individual actors rather than grand theological debates. The result is deeply insightful and deserves to be widely read.' * Stephane Lacroix, Associate Professor of Political Science, Sciences Po, and author of Awakening Islam * 'With great lucidity, Roy places the Islamic militancy of ISIS within a context that includes China's Cultural Revolution, the Khmer Rouge, the Lord's Resistance Army of Uganda and the child soldiers of Liberia, concluding that what we are seeing is not the radicalisation of Islam but the Islamisation of radicalism.' * Faisal Devji, author of Landscapes of the Jihad: Militancy, Morality, Modernity *

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