Understanding Al-Qaeda as a Discursive Phenomenon

  • Jared AhmadEmail author
Part of the New Security Challenges book series (NSECH)


The purpose of this chapter is twofold. It first seeks to review the existing literature focusing on the dynamics of the media-state-terrorism relationship and, in particular, the few studies that have sought to consider media representations of the al-Qaeda phenomenon. In doing so, the first part of the chapter establishes the core rationale of the book. Second, the chapter then moves to develop an original conceptual and analytical framework through which to consider the BBC’s representations of al-Qaeda. Drawing on the work of French philosopher Michel Foucault, this framework focuses, first, on the manifest visual and verbal content of these portrayals, and in particular how they shift over the period under analysis, and, second, on the political functions and outcomes of such representations. The chapter ends by outlining the methods required for studying mediated representations of terrorism and introduces the key case studies covered in the analysis.


Al-Qaeda Discourse Dispositif Media-state-terrorism relationship Representation Subject positioning Truth regime 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Journalism StudiesUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK

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