Journal for the Academic Study of Religion, Vol 28, No 3 (2015)

The Reversed Global Mobilities of the Islamic State

Andrzej Gwizdalski
Issued Date: 18 Jan 2016


An estimated 4,000 young Westerners have travelled to Syria and Iraq to join the Islamic State (IS). This paper examines this recent phenomenon by critically reviewing the current mainstream terrorism framework commonly used to understand IS and proposing an alternative model based on globalisation and mobilities theories. The global mobilities (or globilities) framework is applied through a review of recently published academic and non-academic literature on IS. Particular attention is paid to questions of statehood, religion, media and identity and their role in motivating Westerners to move to IS; reversed global flows of religiously motivated people are highlighted. The paper suggests that the global mobilities framework allows consideration of IS as other than just a terrorist organisation, arguing the people joining it could be viewed as migrants rather than simply terrorists and victims. The paper contributes a critical perspective allowing for an alternative understanding of IS and ways of dealing with this phenomenon.

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DOI: 10.1558/jasr.v28i3.28547


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