Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Josef Korbel School of International Studies

First Advisor

Micheline Ishay, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Jack Donnelly

Third Advisor

Nader Hashemi


Fascism, Islamism, Martyrdom, Spectacle


The rise of political martyrdom in the contemporary world is not a new phenomenon but can be traced back to at least the early Twentieth Century with the rise of European Fascist movements. Both they, and the fascist-like movements of today, share a cluster of characteristics that allow for fruitful comparisons of the ways in which martyrdom spectacles are used to communicate with constituent populations, facilitate a culture of violence, perpetuate their revolutionary zeal and demonstrate the characteristics of the ideal citizen. Examining four major movements; Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, the Palestinian Hamas and the modern Iran, this dissertation argues that 1) the use of martyrdom by today's fascist-like fundamentalists is not unique, but follows a well-known path taken by the earlier fascist movements of the twentieth century; 2) martyrdom spectacles can be used to build support within the population and present a narrative of the ideal citizen; 3) there are different uses of martyrdom spectacles between the regime phase and the movement phase for both fascist and fascist-like movements. By exploring the relationship between martyrdom spectacles and their disciplining nature, we can better understand the logic of contemporary fundamentalist movements and the techniques they used to achieve power and maintain control.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.


Received from ProQuest

Rights holder

Gerald Robert Pace

File size

221 p.

File format





International relations, Political Science