Neoliberalism and neo-jihadism

Propaganda and finance in Al Qaeda and Islamic State

By Imogen Richards

Neoliberalism and neo-jihadism


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-4320-4
  • Pages: 272
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: September 2020
  • BIC Category: Society & social sciences / Terrorism, armed struggle, Society & social sciences / Liberalism & centre democratic ideologies, Politics, Liberalism & centre democratic ideologies, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Conservatism & Liberalism, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Terrorism, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Economy, Economics, finance, business & management / Political economy
  • Series: Manchester University Press


This ground-breaking book examines the political-economic characteristics of twentieth- and early twenty-first-century 'neo-jihadism'. Drawing on Bourdieusian and neo-Marxist ideas, it investigates how the neo-jihadist organisations Al Qaeda and Islamic State engage with the capitalist paradigm of neoliberalism in their anti-capitalist propaganda and quasi-capitalist financial practices.

An investigation of documents and discourses reveals interactions between neoliberalism and neo-jihadism characterised by surface-level contradiction, and structural connections that are both dialectical and mutually reinforcing. Neoliberalism here is argued to constitute an underlying 'status quo', while neo-jihadism, as an evolving form of political organisation, is perpetuated as part of this situation.

Representing differentiated, unique and exclusive examples of the (r)evolutionary phenomenon of neo-jihadism, Al Qaeda and Islamic State are characteristic of the mutually constitutive nature of 'power and resistance'. Just as resistance movements throughout modern history come to resemble the forms of power they sought to overthrow, so too have Al Qaeda and Islamic State reconstituted the dominant political-economic paradigm of neoliberalism they mobilised in response to.


'In the vast array of studies on contemporary jihadism, Neoliberalism and neo-jihadism by Imogen Richards stands out for its rigorous theoretical framework, its impressive empirical basis and its unique historical-materialist analysis. With an engaging and insightful analysis of the dialectical relationship between neoliberalism and neo-jihadism, it fills a genuine lacuna in the broader field of jihadism studies. It is highly commended and will be of great interest to anyone interested contemporary jihadism, Islamic State, al Qaeda and Middle East security politics.'
Richard Jackson, Professor of Peace Studies, National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago


1 Neoliberalism, Bourdieu, and neo-Marxism
2 Neoliberalism in action
3 Al Qaeda's political-economic propaganda
4 Islamic State's political-economic propaganda
5 Al Qaeda's financial practices
6 Islamic State's financial practices


Imogen Richards is a Lecturer in Criminology at Deakin University and member of the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation

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