Visual representations of martyrdom: Comparing the symbolism of Jihadi and far-right online martyrologies
Keywords:Critical Discourse Analysis, Martyrologies, Jihadism, Far-Right, Symbolism
Martyrologies are often associated with Jihadi propaganda. From Al-Qaeda to the Islamic State, Islamist groups have been widely spreading their cult of martyrs through e-magazines, online blogs, and social media to convey extremist messages and radicalise individuals. Nonetheless, such a trend has recently come to characterise the far right as well. Far-right groups have developed online martyrologies, diffusing images parsing far-right terrorists and extremists who conducted deadly attacks as saints and martyrs. This emerging trend in far-right online propaganda has led to a revived interest in comparative research addressing Jihadi and far-right online activity. By applying critical discourse analysis (CDA) to the study of Jihadi and far-right martyrdom propaganda images, this research compares Islamist and far-right martyrologies, explores their commonalities and differences, and provides theoretical insight into the use of martyrologies in online content. Both ideologies convey complex symbolism to effectively spread their messages and aim to radicalise online users. Diverse symbols operate on multiple levels and impact group dynamics. Although similarities between Jihadi and far-right symbolism are numerous, differences must not be overlooked as they show the complexity and diversity of online martyrologies and radicalisation strategies. Indeed, while adopting similar rhetoric, Jihadi and far-right martyrologies draw upon different traditions and cultures which target different audiences and appeal to individuals with different backgrounds.
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