This study critically engages with the current security debate on the conceptual understanding of the Islamic State (IS). The study critically evaluates the dominant Western view within the debate that conceptualises IS as an ‘Islamic’ terrorist organisation and a product of the ‘backwardness’ of Islam. By conducting a critical review of the literature on IS, the author argues that such a conceptualisation of IS is rooted in a racist, orientalist and Islamophobic Western epistemological narrative which seeks to create a ‘natural’ link between terrorism and Islam. Through a conceptual discussion on terrorism and a critical assessment of the Eurocentric nature of security studies theories, both traditional and critical, the study shows how hegemonic Western epistemologies are able to conveniently ignore the European roots of terrorism in the foundation of Western modernity. The result of this is that hegemonic Western epistemologies are able to appropriate the concept of security as an exclusive domain of Western states and their societies. This whilst carving out the non-European world, particularly Islamic societies, as the exclusive sources of potential terrorist threats. The study therefore advances the decolonial theoretical concept of global coloniality as a means of reframing the debate and shifting the point of enunciation from dominant Western views of IS to a more critical Global South decolonial perspective. As such, the study places emphasis on the European origins of terrorism as a constitutive element of the foundation of Western modernity, whilst addressing the cognitive confinement of security studies theories. In this light the study concludes by asserting that the Islamic State is a creation of the constitutive violent logic of Western modernity/coloniality, which has terrorism as its foundational core.
Mini Dissertation (MSS)--University of Pretoria, 2017.