Theoretical and Methodological Introduction
In the current political rhetoric shared by a large number of Western politicians, political scientists, journalists, and essayists, the lexeme barbar- is being used as a fashionable slogan to designate and denounce crimes against humanity, in particular those committed by Islamist fundamentalists. The lexeme functions here as a concept enabling those who use it to apprehend, verbalize, and objectify the heavily mediatized experience of terror and horror related to those crimes. In France, this use of the concept is supported by its presence in the current Code pénal (paragraph 222–1), which speaks of “acts of barbarity”—“actes de barbarie”—as a particular category of crimes.
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