An Alternative Vision of Statehood: Islamic State’s Ideological Challenge to the Nation-State

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College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Religious Studies


Ideology, Islamic State, Media, Communication, Religious studies


This study contributes to efforts to theorize contemporary challenges to the nation-state as a normative governance unit through an analysis of Islamic State’s state ideology. It is argued that, by reinterpreting concepts from Islamic history, IS puts forth a religiously motivated, post-national state ideology. Based on an interdisciplinary reading of Dabiq magazine, the de facto official IS publication between 2014 and 2016, three concepts emerge as foundational in the group’s state ideology: imamah (leadership), hijrah (migration), and bay‘a (allegiance). The study sheds light on the enduring ideology of Islamic State, despite its territorial defeat.

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