Mediating Islamic State| Islamic State and Game of Thrones: The Global Among Tradition, Identity, and the Politics of Spectacle

Bashir Saade


The gruesome videos circulated on most media platforms by the organization that calls itself the Islamic State (IS) have prompted a heated debate about the “Islamicity” of the organization that centered on how serious IS actors were regarding getting their “interpretations” right. If any act of interpretation or of understanding of “religion” has been transformed by the various technological and ideological developments of the last two centuries, I will argue here that Salafi thinking (of which IS articulations are but one aspect), understanding of a mythical past, and imagining of history outside a “lived” tradition, marries itself conveniently with the way the latest audiovisual technology manifests itself to an audience, especially in consecrating a culture of speed and “eventual” rupture. This relationship leads to a “collapse of meaning” while leaving room for an overflow of “graphicness.” The article will draw parallels between these practices and those of recent TV shows such as Game of Thrones, especially in reimagining a “medieval era” that serves as a schema for addressing contemporary concerns.


IS, GoT, media, modernity, medievalism, graphicness, simulation, real

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