The West, the rest, and the 'war on terror': Representation of Muslims in neoconservative media discourse

George Kassimeris, Leonie Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


This paper uses Sayyid's concept of Eurocentrism to analyse neoconservative media discourse following the September 11 attacks. Using predicate analysis on articles from The Weekly Standard magazine, this study aims to determine how neoconservative writers created a Muslim subjectivity following the attacks in order to make certain courses of action appear necessary and inevitable. Four subject positions emerged from the analysis: passive Muslims, active Muslims, the passive West, and the active West. By containing and controlling the representation of ‘Islam’ and ‘Muslims’ through these binaries, neoconservatives endeavoured to stabilise the identities of the players in the ‘war on terrorism’, and in doing so, advanced a Eurocentric discourse that attempted to re-centre the West as the vehicle of human progress, with America as its natural leader. This paper concludes that basing the ‘war on terror’ entirely around identities effectively made Eurocentrism (and Islamism) self-reinforcing, as the successful restriction of identities precluded challenges to the neoconservative discourse from any position other than a ‘Muslim’ subjectivity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-33
Number of pages16
JournalContemporary Politics
Issue number1
Early online date10 Mar 2011
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes


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