Reimagined Territory: A New Theory of Terrorist Geographies

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Publication Type dissertation
School or College College of Social & Behavioral Science
Department Geography
Author Fuhriman, Christopher
Title Reimagined Territory: A New Theory of Terrorist Geographies
Date 2017
Description This research proposes a new theoretical concept of reimagined territory for application in the study of terrorism and other forms of political violence. Geographic theories of space and place, geopolitics, and multidisciplinary terrorism studies provide the theoretical framework for this dissertation. A mixed-method approach comprised of computer-aided content analysis, manual content analysis, cartographic visualization, and geographic narrative analysis is applied to ISIS's Dabiq magazine as a case study of the reimagined territory of a terrorist group. The results demonstrate the utility of the theoretical concept of reimagined territory in examining the ideology and goals of a given terrorist movement. A second case study of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's Inspire magazine validates the methodology and the general applicability of the theoretical concept. The computer-aided content analysis generates a list of terms sorted by frequency (high to low) and alphabetical order from each issue of Dabiq magazine. The manual content analysis extracts all geographic place names from the lists of terms and categorizes them into one of four categories based on geographic scale. The cartographic visualization then charts the geographic place names in a series of maps from each of the scale categories. Finally, the results from each previous stage inform the geographic narrative analysis, which also considers the original text of the magazines in explaining the ideology and geographic aims of the terror group. The way in which ISIS imagines the world to be when it has achieved its goals emerges from the narrative analysis as its reimagined territory. This research underscores the importance of considering the territoriality of terror groups and movements. The primary conclusions of this research are: 1) ISIS's geographic goal (reimagined territory) is the establishment of a Muslim state based on the territorial expanse of early Islamic caliphates and current Muslim lands; 2) AQAP's goal is the establishment of a Muslim state centered on the Levant and eventually expanding to include all Muslim lands; 3) the methodology employed in this study and theoretical concept of reimagined territory applies to any terror group seeking to control space.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Geography
Dissertation Name Doctor of Philosophy
Language eng
Rights Management (c) Christopher Fuhriman
Format Medium application/pdf
ARK ark:/87278/s6g77snz
Setname ir_etd
Date Created 2019-02-27
Date Modified 2019-05-24
ID 1401449
Reference URL
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