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Discourses of the War on Terror: Constructions of the Islamic other after 7/7

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It is widely agreed that the events which took place on 11 September 2001 have played a large part in reshaping global imaginings about contemporary acts of terrorism and their Islamic perpetrators. Given this transformation in the understanding of terrorism and terrorists, our objective in this article is threefold. First we want to present a discussion of the roots of the kind of neo-liberal politics that has grown up alongside acts of terrorism and its global media coverage which has, we argue, resulted in a politics of fear that acts to legitimate ever-increasing legislative controls. In an attempt to reveal how discourse works to support such regulation, in the second part of this article we offer a qualitative analysis of newspaper articles from the UK about acts of terrorism that have taken place since the suicide bombings on the London transport system on 7 July 2005. Together with an analysis of the political speeches of Bush and Blair, we examine how far these discourses can be said to have reframed notions of inclusion/exclusion for Muslim populations. Finally we present a discussion of the consequences of such terrorist acts and their varied representations for the future of the British multicultural imaginary.

Keywords: British Islam; War on Terror; global terrorism; media representation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Keele University. 2: Staffordshire University.

Publication date: September 1, 2010

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  • The International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics is committed to analyzing the politics of communication(s) and cultural processes. It addresses cultural politics in their local, international and global dimensions, recognizing equally the importance of issues defined by their specific cultural geography and those that traverse cultures and nations.
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