ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Back to Paper Details

Between Public and Virtual Spheres: Dialectics of Islamic Terrorism and the Security Issue Complex of Radical Fundamentalism, High Technology, Critical Infrastructure and Social Networks

Conflict
Cyber Politics
Extremism
International Relations
Islam
Analytic
Alexander Niedermeier
Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Marina Guimaraes
Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Alexander Niedermeier
Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Marina Guimaraes
Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Hannah Riemann
Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

Abstract

One of the major issues in the current security discourse is religiously motivated terrorism. While often perceived solely as radically anti-modernist, today’s radical Islamists are anti-modernist and hyper-modernist at the same time. In their attempts to redesign national orders and finally realize a new concept of world order, Islamic fundamentalists not only highly rely on modernity’s embodiments such as high technology or state of the art information and telecommunication technology, but also attain to exploit the highly interconnected modern societies by applying, exploiting and sabotaging their very foundations with exactly the means provided by modern societies and their technologies. The current radical movements thus find themselves in a context of self-created dialectics of radical anti-modernism and radical modernism. To better understand the inherent dynamics of these dialectics, it is crucial to analyze the issue of Islamic terrorism as a security complex that comprises Islamic political philosophy, the new public sphere and the new virtual sphere. While analyzing Islamic political thought helps to understand the roots and conceptual social, political and economic designs for national and global orders of various Islamists, the analysis of the new public sphere offers insights into the way and means, how these ideas become part of the public discourse within the affected societies. Based on a further development of the Habermasian approach, the creation of public spheres in both traditional ways and by taking advantage of the new social media can be explained. This helps to show why which content is generated and distributed and how. This requires an in-depth analysis of the mechanisms of discourse creation. Thus, integrating Frankfurt School Discourse analysis, the latest social media research and the various strains of Islamic political thought are the first step in developing the security complex. But Islamic fundamentalism also can aim at damaging the technological foundations of modern societies themselves – by expanding terrorism into virtual reality. Thus, critical infrastructures become another aspect to be included in the security complex. By conceptualizing political Islamic fundamentalism as a security complex, the hyper-modernist approach towards an anti-modernist socio-political redesign can be understood more efficiently by showing how various referent objects of security (national security, regime security, societal security, human security) are challenged and how political extremism, religious radicalization, terrorism, and cyber security interact, possibly even causing overreaction by design on all sides.