Framing British ‘jihadi brides’: Metaphor and the social construction of I.S. women

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Abstract

This article considers how mainstream newspapers metaphorically represented the British ‘jihadi brides’, women and girls who travelled to Syria to live in the self-declared ‘Islamic State’ (I.S.). Based on an analysis of 365 articles published between 2013 and 2018, the article demonstrates that three frequently occurring metaphors contributed to the construction of these women and I.S. in general, representing them as natural, biological and supernatural forces. These metaphors served to convert a new phenomenon into a knowable form, but in doing so evoked homogenizing and dehumanizing representations that structured the scope of possibilities for responding to the problem of the ‘brides’. Ultimately, these social constructions had material consequences, as demonstrated by the mood of indifference among policy-makers to the fate of British I.S. fighters and their families following the fall of the ‘caliphate’.
LanguageEnglish
Number of pages31
JournalTerrorism and Political Violence
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 12 Aug 2019

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title = "Framing British ‘jihadi brides’: Metaphor and the social construction of I.S. women",
abstract = "This article considers how mainstream newspapers metaphorically represented the British ‘jihadi brides’, women and girls who travelled to Syria to live in the self-declared ‘Islamic State’ (I.S.). Based on an analysis of 365 articles published between 2013 and 2018, the article demonstrates that three frequently occurring metaphors contributed to the construction of these women and I.S. in general, representing them as natural, biological and supernatural forces. These metaphors served to convert a new phenomenon into a knowable form, but in doing so evoked homogenizing and dehumanizing representations that structured the scope of possibilities for responding to the problem of the ‘brides’. Ultimately, these social constructions had material consequences, as demonstrated by the mood of indifference among policy-makers to the fate of British I.S. fighters and their families following the fall of the ‘caliphate’.",
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issn = "0954-6553",
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AB - This article considers how mainstream newspapers metaphorically represented the British ‘jihadi brides’, women and girls who travelled to Syria to live in the self-declared ‘Islamic State’ (I.S.). Based on an analysis of 365 articles published between 2013 and 2018, the article demonstrates that three frequently occurring metaphors contributed to the construction of these women and I.S. in general, representing them as natural, biological and supernatural forces. These metaphors served to convert a new phenomenon into a knowable form, but in doing so evoked homogenizing and dehumanizing representations that structured the scope of possibilities for responding to the problem of the ‘brides’. Ultimately, these social constructions had material consequences, as demonstrated by the mood of indifference among policy-makers to the fate of British I.S. fighters and their families following the fall of the ‘caliphate’.

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