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You are Who You Kill: Insurgent Claims, Frames, and Identities in Iraq

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Abstract:

Insurgent rhetoric is often treated dismissively as propaganda. This paper assumes an alternative perspective in which insurgent rhetoric is considered as sophisticated political rhetoric, capable of revealing meaningful insight into the internal structure of an insurgency especially under conditions of intense factional competition. Using a quantitative approach, we demonstrate that this is indeed the case using rhetoric of Iraqi Sunni insurgent groups. Our focus is on insurgent operational claims and, in particular, the types of target classes that insurgents claim to attack. We contend that variations in the claimed target classes should reflect differences in group composition among the base of active insurgency supporters. A theoretical framework is set forth in which insurgent operational claims and identity rhetoric are related to concepts from Aristotelian rhetoric theory, modern social identity theory, and framing theory. Several hypotheses following from this framework are proposed. We construct a quantitative “targeting policy” variable which gauges the perceived legitimacy of the portfolio of target classes claimed by a group. Targeting policy differences are seen to correspond with ideological differences. We also construct networks from insurgent rhetoric, in particular, claims of joint operations and joint communiqués, indicative of insurgent group relationships at the foot soldier and leadership levels respectively. Correlations between targeting policy and the joint operations network structure support our argument that targeting claims are an indicator of social identities among a group’s active support constituencies.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

group (199), insurg (179), target (138), claim (73), rhetor (72), oper (66), polici (66), network (55), 2 (53), class (51), nationalist (50), jihadist (49), joint (49), polit (47), iraq (46), iraqi (46), 1 (46), ident (41), frame (41), conflict (39), differ (37),
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Association:
Name: International Studies Association Annual Conference "Global Governance: Political Authority in Transition"
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http://www.isanet.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p498773_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Gabbay, Michael. and Thirkill-Mackelprang, Ashley. "You are Who You Kill: Insurgent Claims, Frames, and Identities in Iraq" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association Annual Conference "Global Governance: Political Authority in Transition", Le Centre Sheraton Montreal Hotel, MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA, Mar 16, 2011 <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p498773_index.html>

APA Citation:

Gabbay, M. and Thirkill-Mackelprang, A. , 2011-03-16 "You are Who You Kill: Insurgent Claims, Frames, and Identities in Iraq" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association Annual Conference "Global Governance: Political Authority in Transition", Le Centre Sheraton Montreal Hotel, MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA Online <APPLICATION/PDF>. 2014-11-26 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p498773_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Insurgent rhetoric is often treated dismissively as propaganda. This paper assumes an alternative perspective in which insurgent rhetoric is considered as sophisticated political rhetoric, capable of revealing meaningful insight into the internal structure of an insurgency especially under conditions of intense factional competition. Using a quantitative approach, we demonstrate that this is indeed the case using rhetoric of Iraqi Sunni insurgent groups. Our focus is on insurgent operational claims and, in particular, the types of target classes that insurgents claim to attack. We contend that variations in the claimed target classes should reflect differences in group composition among the base of active insurgency supporters. A theoretical framework is set forth in which insurgent operational claims and identity rhetoric are related to concepts from Aristotelian rhetoric theory, modern social identity theory, and framing theory. Several hypotheses following from this framework are proposed. We construct a quantitative “targeting policy” variable which gauges the perceived legitimacy of the portfolio of target classes claimed by a group. Targeting policy differences are seen to correspond with ideological differences. We also construct networks from insurgent rhetoric, in particular, claims of joint operations and joint communiqués, indicative of insurgent group relationships at the foot soldier and leadership levels respectively. Correlations between targeting policy and the joint operations network structure support our argument that targeting claims are an indicator of social identities among a group’s active support constituencies.


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