Promoting the Abject: Visual Analysis of ISIS Propaganda Videos

Podoshen, J.S., Jason Wallin, J., Rabah, J., Glass, D., & Venkatesh, V.

Utilizing visual analysis and the positioning triad, we closely examine online videos produced by ISIS, which utilize abjection, shock, death and ultraviolence as key components used to promote the organization.  Thus far very little is understood about the techniques ISIS uses to promote itself as an organization.  Our findings indicate that ISIS utilizes abject violence, torture and death in a fashion similar to action-focused horror films and hyperreal western orientated media to attract new members into the fold.  We believe that by analyzing these propaganda techniques, nested in Baudrillardrian introspection, we can pave a path for more informed theory building and insight about the effects of the violent propaganda being disseminated.  In this respect, our work acts as a starting point in a larger effort to cultivate dialogue and spur examination about how organizations are coming to rely on images of real death in their promotional strategies.

(under review at Consumption, Markets and Culture – link coming soon)

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