[P4896] Rethinking ISIS: War, Crisis, and Transformation

Created by Feras Klenk
Tuesday, 11/21/17 1:00pm


When ISIS first appeared on the geopolitical scene, it swiftly expanded across Syria and Iraq proclaiming the (re)establishment of a Muslim Caliphate grounded in an apocalyptic political theology. Evidence of its ambitions manifested itself in newly emerging state-like institutions, recruitment of foreign fighters, and a well-organized military structure. As the organization is losing ground and support in continuous warfare, analysts speculate about the end of ISIS as a political entity and its return to an insurgent movement. Although not entirely disagreeing with this analysis, this interdisciplinary panel takes a slightly different approach. Rather than reading the situation as one of ISIS' "rise and decline," we explore its transformation in a time of war.

Collectively, the papers of this panel seek to critically explore the changes in the ISIS phenomenon and chart its potential trajectories from interdisciplinary perspectives. Hence, the first paper examines the narratives of ISIS sympathizers focusing on what the organization signifies to its western recruits and supporters. It draws attention to the shifting strategies and tactics that ISIS deploys to enhance recruitment. The second paper takes corporate America as its departure point, arguing that ISIS utilizes the M-Form structure of corporate governance. This vertical but flexible model, which served ISIS and the corporate world well, will allow it to adapt to the new socio-economic conditions and emerging political realities. The third paper analyzes the educational practices of the Islamic State and focuses on its attempt to produce difference through shaping a new spatial (territorial) imaginary and consciousness. These practices range from traditional curriculum building and school textbooks to non-traditional sources such as videos, magazines, and other "educational" and prescriptive materials. The final paper investigates how the ideological foundations of ISIS are being reformulated and rearticulated to meet changing circumstances, thus revealing how the group has in fact internalized a now globalized protestant eschatology.


Anthro; Geog; Pol Science; Socio



Feras Klenk

(University of Arizona)
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;

Moses Adams

(Columbia University)
I am a Paul F. Lazarsfeld Fellow in Sociology at Columbia University. My research interests include the Sociology of Knowledge, Cognitive Sociology, Social Psychology, and Applied Social Epistemology. I previously served as an instructor at the University...
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Gokce Gunel

(University of Arizona)
Panel Participating Role(s): Chair; Discussant;

Cheikh Isselmou

(The University of Arizona)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;