Dead Evil? Constructing the 'Terrorist' in media obituaries

Jarvis, Lee (2019) Dead Evil? Constructing the 'Terrorist' in media obituaries. Critical Studies on Security, 7 (2). pp. 124-137. ISSN 2162-4887

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Abstract

Terrorists – or, better, those portrayed as ‘terrorist’ – are remembered in a multiplicity of ways after their death. In murals and music, in slogans and speeches, on t-shirts and online, in fiction and in film. This article focuses on one specific site of social memory – the newspaper obituary – to explore how these: story deceased ‘terrorists’ via reflection on their character, actions and significance; situate the deceased within relevant structural backgrounds; and, explain ‘terrorist’ behaviour via life-defining, formative experiences. It argues that these obituaries produce the (dead) ‘terrorist’ as a nuanced, complex and situated figure, one: whose designation as ‘terrorist’ is capable of contestation; who often possesses redeeming features; and, whose violences are situated within, and made possible by, wider structural contexts. In so doing, the article offers three contributions to knowledge: empirical, via the first sustained analysis of ‘terrorist’ obituaries as a distinctive mnemonic project; analytical, by elaboration on the processes through which past – rather than current/future – threats are made meaningful; and, conceptual, through reflection on the explanatory work that obituaries do in depicting ‘terrorism’s’ causes.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: University of East Anglia > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Political, Social and International Studies
Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2019 09:30
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2020 23:41
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/70506
DOI: 10.1080/21624887.2019.1644059

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