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Authors: Günther, Christoph
Title: Iconic socioclasm : idol-breaking and the dawn of a new social order
Online publication date: 17-Mar-2021
Language: english
Abstract: The Islamic State articulates its claim for legitimate authority through texts, audio messages, and still and moving images. In addition, among the practices employed to classify “genuine” Islam and its boundaries, the destruction of cultural properties has received much international attention. The movement has framed these sites as manifestations of idolatry and, consequently, their obliteration as a legitimate means for socioreligious purification. In this article, I argue that the Islamic State’s attacks on these properties are embedded in a comprehensive strategy of spatial, material, ideational, and intellectual purification of the socioreligious landscape. By destroying these sites, the movement targets integral elements of social identities of local and transnational communities and their individual members in order to build a new social framework on their ruins. I suggest understanding these acts as strategic “socioclasm.” Visualizations are part of this strategy and help render the Islamic State an effective force because they support the production of images in the minds of both the movement’s followers and adversaries, hence attesting to the Islamic State’s rise, ideology, and actions.
DDC: 290 Andere Religionen
290 Other and comparative religions
300 Sozialwissenschaften
300 Social sciences
320 Politik
320 Political science
355 Militär
355 Military science
700 Künste
700 The arts
720 Architektur
720 Architecture
990 Geschichte der übrigen Welt
990 General history of other areas
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 07 Geschichts- u. Kulturwissensch.
Place: Mainz
Version: Published version
Publication type: Zeitschriftenaufsatz
Document type specification: Scientific article
License: CC BY-NC-ND
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Journal: International journal of communication
Pages or article number: 1830
Publisher: The Annenberg Center for Communication
Publisher place: Los Angeles, Calif.
Issue date: 2020
ISSN: 1932-8036
Publisher URL:
Appears in collections:JGU-Publikationen

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