Browsing by Subject "public displays of violence"

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  • Lehtolaakso, Heidi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    ISIS, the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq, is a relatively new player on the field of international politics. ISIS managed to strengthen its position in Syria and Iraq especially during 2013-2015 with its nearly full-fledged army and by building and providing basic infrastructure in areas torn by the war in Syria. The aim of this research is to look at the violence ISIS practises against LGBTQ minorities and how this violence helps build ISIS’s legitimacy both regionally and as an international actor. To help answer the research question, a theoretical framework has been built on the paradigms of power by Michel Foucault. The paradigms used for the theoretical framework are sovereign power, biopolitical power and disciplinary power. The advantage of the chosen theoretical framework is that with it the research is able to discuss the formation of legitimacy and power through certain mechanisms of power, and when the state is not at the centre of the analysis of power formation, but rather different regimes of power. Thus, the research is able to discuss an actor like ISIS that cannot be discussed as a nation-state without reservations, and its legitimacy building. The data in this research is comprised of photo and video material from public executions of victims that are accussed of engaging in homosexual activities. The data in this research has been transcribed from their visual form to a textual one in the form of short scripts. In addition to the scripts, there are three supporting methods of analysis: ”mash-up” technique for photo editing, where multiple photographs have been made slightly transparent and place on top of one another, photo collections and generalising models of the different phases in the executions drawn with a computer program. The research finds that the role of audience is essential witnessing these events. If there is not audience, present on witnessing distributed material of the events, the executions do not help to build or foster ISIS legitimacy or authority. Through these executions, ISIS is taking advantage of an already stigmatised minority and its weak societal position in the area where ISIS is active to build its own legitimacy and credibility regionally and to shock the international community and gain its attention by distributing execution material online and in social media. The central findings of this research are that ISIS is using these executions to build legitimacy in two ways. On the one hand, ISIS portrays itself as the protector of the local population, purging the community of disdained homosexuals. On the other hand ISIS manages to place itself in stark contrast to Western liberal values that support the rights of sexual minorities. Therefore, ISIS is building its legitimacy with violence towards sexual minorities on two levels.