How can we interpret the emergence of ISIS/ISIL from a movement perspective? Students and colleagues keep asking me and my answer remains unclear due to the limited publicly available information on the movement. Much of the available information has been posted by ISIS itself or has been reported by journalists’ accounts (e.g. an overview from the New York Times). The footage their organization has released shows how they are committing brutal and violent acts and sharing them publicly via social media as a key mobilization tactic.
What we know from previous sociological research on militant and orthodox religious movements may lend insights in interpreting how ISIS has emerged and gained power. Continue reading