Imogen Richards
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Al Qaeda's political-economic propgagnda
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This chapter commences an account of Al Qaeda’s political-economic propaganda. The discussion and analysis are influenced by interpretations of neo-jihadism articulated in the work of the activist-scholars Iain Boal, T. J. Clark, Joseph Matthews, and Michael Watts, as well as insights from investigative journalism in the Global War on Terror. The analysis in this chapter foregrounds Islamist ideologues that influenced Al Qaeda at its 1988 inception, before reflecting on how the organisation’s political-economic propaganda engaged with dominant anti-capitalist and anti-US perspectives prior to and following 11 September 2001, and after the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. The investigation addresses the discourse of prominent figures who influenced Al Qaeda in history and who spoke on behalf of the organisation, including Osama Bin Laden, Abdullah Azzam, Aymenn al-Zawahiri, and Adam Gadahn. Drawing on Bourdieusian theory, it explores how Al Qaeda leaders appeal to social, cultural, and symbolic capital through their propaganda, while their collective expression of an anti-capitalist ‘habitus’ corresponds to a changing ‘field’ of anti-capitalism that developed over time.

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Neoliberalism and neo-jihadism

Propaganda and finance in Al Qaeda and Islamic State


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