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"Suicide attacks are a defining act of political violence and an extraordinary social phenomenon. This book investigates the organizers of suicide missions and the perpetrators alike"--Provided by publisher.
Few phenomena are as formative of our experience of the visual world as displays of suffering. But what does it mean to have an ethical experience of disturbing or traumatizing images? What kind of ethical proposition does an image of pain mobilize? How may the spectator learn from and make use of the painful image as a source of ethical reflection? Engaging with a wide range of visual media--from painting, theatre, and sculpture, to photography, film, and video--this interdisciplinary collection of essays by leading and emerging scholars of visual culture offers a reappraisal of the increasingly complex relationship between images of pain and the ethics of viewing. Ethics and Images of Pain reconsiders the persistent and ever pertinent nexus of aesthetics and ethics, the role of painful images as generators of unpredictable forms of affect, the moral transformation of spectatorship, the ambivalence of the witness and the representation of afflication as a fundamental form of our shared scopic experience. The instructive and illuminating essays in the collection introduce a phenomenological context in which to make sense of our current ecology of excruciating images, one that accentuates notions of responsibility, empathy, and imagination. Contributors trace the images of pain across a miscellany of case studies, and amongst the topics addressed are: the work of artists as disparate as Doris Salcedo, Anselm Kiefer and Bendik Riis; photographs from Abu Ghraib and Rwanda; Hollywood war films and animated documentaries; performances of self-immolations and incidents of police brutality captured on mobile phones.
Women's bodies have become a battleground. Around the world, people argue about veiling, schooling for Afghan girls, and "SlutWalk" protests, all of which involve issues of women's sexuality and freedom. Globalization, with its emphasis on human rights and individuality, heats up these arguments. In Of Virgins and Martyrs, David Jacobson takes the reader on a fascinating tour of how self-identity developed throughout history and what individualism means for Muslim societies struggling to maintain a sense of honor in a globalized twenty-first century. Some patriarchal societies have come to see women’s control of their own sexuality as a threat to a way of life that goes back thousands of years. Many trace their lineage to tribal cultures that were organized around the idea that women’s virginity represents the honor of male relatives and the good of the community at large. Anyone or anything that influences women to the contrary is considered a corrupting and potentially calamitous force. Jacobson analyzes the connection between tribal patriarchy and Muslim radicalism through an innovative tool—the tribal patriarchy index. This index helps to illuminate why women's sexuality, dress, and image so compel militant Muslim outrage and sometimes violent action, revealing a deeper human story of how women's status defines competing moral visions of society and why this present clash is erupting with such ferocity. -- Subrata Mitra, Department of Political Science, and South Asia Institute, University of Heidelberg
In an age when the Western world is preoccupied with worries about weapons of mass destruction in terrorist hands, terrorists in many parts of the world are using a more basic device as a weapon – life itself. Through analysis of data from The Suicide Terrorism Database, Suicide Bombings seeks to explain the motivation of these attackers, and uncovers a cocktail of forces that drive suicide bombers.
This book provides a critical and a conceptual analysis of radical Islamist rhetoric drawn from temporally and contextually varied Islamist extremist groups, challenging the popular understanding of Islamist extremism as a product of a ‘clash-of-civilizations’. Arguing that the essence of Islamist extremism can only be accurately understood by drawing a distinction between the radical Islamist explanations and justifications of violence, the author posits that despite the radical Islamist contextualization of violence within Islamic religious tenets, there is nothing conceptually or distinctly Islamic about Islamist extremism. She engages in a critical analysis of the nature of reason in radical Islamist rhetoric, asserting that the radical Islamist explanations of violence are conceptually reasoned in terms of existential Hegelian struggles for recognition (as fundamentally struggles against oppression), and the radical Islamist justifications of violence are conceptually reasoned in terms of moral consequentialism. With a detailed analysis of Islamist extremist discourse spanning a wide range of contexts, this book has a broad relevance for scholars and students working in the field of Islamic studies, religious violence, philosophy and political theory.
Why does someone resolve to take his own life in order to murder other people? What is the state of mind which allows him to commit such a monstrous act?This book explores the mental state that compels certain individuals to perform murderous, suicidal acts and emphasizes that, whereas a suicidal terrorist attack can be described as a crime against humanity, its protagonists cannot necessarily be classified as criminal or insane. There is no such a thing as a "typical" suicide terrorist - each attacker differs in age, sex, family status, culture, and even religion. Indeed, the common elements in suicide terrorism should perhaps be sought not so much in the individuals concerned as in the dynamics rooted in their group, family history or country. It may be extreme situations experienced by the group situations that are either objectively extreme or perceived as such that give rise to paradoxical behaviour at individual level. Psychoanalysis is well placed to consider this terrain. Freud, after all, soon disabused his reader of the belief that the less palatable aspects of psychic life were the exclusive preserve of some aberrant sub-category of people.
Suicide bombing has become a weapon of choice among terrorist groups because of its lethality and ability to cause mayhem and fear. But who carries out these acts, and what motivates them? By undertaking analysis of the information in the most comprehensive suicide terrorism database in the world, Life as a Weapon seeks to question and in turn undermine the common perception that the psychopathology of suicide bombers and their religious beliefs are the principal causes. Instead, the book presents a cocktail of motivations that drive suicide bombers, and explains how their actions achieve multiple purposes – community approval, political success, liberation of the homeland, personal redemption or honour, refusal to accept subjugation, revenge, anxiety, defiance. Since the configuration of these driving factors is also specifically related to the circumstances of political conflict in each different country, it is only through gaining understanding and knowledge of these conditions that appropriate policies and responses can be developed that will protect the public and counter the scourge of suicide bombings. Life as a Weapon is a pivotal text in the discussion surrounding suicide bombings, and as such it is of relevance to undergraduate students, postgraduates, and researchers working in areas such as Security Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, Terrorism, Criminology and Political Science.

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