Digital/Commercial (In)visibility: The Politics of DAESH Recruitment Videos

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This article explores one aspect of digital politics, the politics of videos and more spe- cifically of DAESH recruitment videos. It proposes a practice theoretical approach to the politics of DAESH recruitment videos focused on the re-production of regimes of (in)visibility. The article develops an argument demonstrating specifically how digital and commercial logics characterize the aesthetic, circulatory, and infrastructuring practices re-producing the regime of (in)visibility. It shows that digital/commercial logics are at the heart of the combinatorial marketing of multiple, contradictory images of the DAESH polity in the videos; that they are core to the participatory, entrepreneurial, individua- lized and affective processes of contagion determining whom the videos reach and involve; and that they shape the sorting, linking, flagging and censoring of the videos that define their accessibility on the internet. The theoretical and political cost of overlooking these digital and commercial characteristics of DAESH visibility practices are high. It perpetuates misconceptions of how the videos work and what their politics are and it reinforces the digital Orientalism/Occidentalism in which these misconceptions are anchored.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Theory
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)348-372
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017

Bibliographical note

Published online: September 22, 2016


  • Commercial security
  • Digital culture
  • Neo-liberal politics
  • Radical islam
  • Visual theory

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