Actions speak louder than.. ahem, narratives

[ by Charles Cameron — pondering the use of narratives to “counter violent extremism” ] . I’m pondering the use of narratives to “counter violent extremism”, and have been thinking about letting this post consist of its title and the government-sponsored words: This Page Intentionally Left Blank I’m hoping this post will find its place […] Read more »

Intellectuals and their Romance with Political Barbarism

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen“] Martin Heidegger, Eric Hobsbawm and Ezra Pound A  meandering post inspired by Reason Magazine and Charles Cameron. Reason.com is best known for giving a scrappy libertarian take on current events, crime, technology and pop culture, but recently, an article by Charles Paul Freund touched a deeper, darker vein of twentieth century history […] Read more »

A powerful, credible narrative?

[ by Charles Cameron — how about a powerful, credible foreign policy? — maybe that’s asking too much ] . ** James P. Farwell‘s piece in the National Interest, Information Warfare: The Key to Destroying ISIS, claims: A coalition of Shia militias, Iraqi government forces and anti-ISIS Suncni tribesman are making progress towards ejecting ISIS […] Read more »

The paradoxical roles of luxury cars in the lives of the women of IS

[ by Charles Cameron — not particularly anxious to own a BMW — but did I once win a Rolls for a night of Bach at the Hollywood Bowl ] . Sources: Belfast Telegraph, Jihadi brides with BMW M5s Dabiq, issue #8 p.34, The Twin Halves of the Muhajirin So we’re somewhat fond of the […] Read more »

In Brief: Azzam illustrates Levi-Strauss on Mythologiques

[ by Charles Cameron — the geometry of two miracle stories from Abdullah Azzam ] . These two tales are taken from Abdullah Azzam, Signs of ar-Rahman in the Jihad of Afghan. ** Binary oppositions seem to be basic to the human thought process, and this simple, elegant observation has in turn given rise to […] Read more »

New White Paper: The Narrative Landscape of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb

CSC has released a new white paper: The Narrative Landscape of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. Executive Summary This report presents the results of an analysis of the narrative landscape produced in texts by and about al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) from 2007 to 2013. We analyzed invocation of cultural master narrative use by the group, and then performed a detailed thematic study of the texts using Critical Discourse Analysis. This report is timely, […] Read more »

Guest Post: Stephanie Chenault Reviews Saving South Sudan

Zen here – we would like to give a warm welcome to Stephanie Chenault, with her first guest post at ZP! : [ by Stephanie Chenault] “Violence and bloodshed can never have morally good results” – The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare Saving South Sudan is an ambitious, multimedia event from “World’s Most Dangerous Places,” [...] Read more »

Hayder al-Khoei and the sword of St Paul

[ by Charles Cameron -- when is a sword just a metaphor, when does it spill blood, and what can be done about it when it does? ] . Hayder al-Khoei is presently in Rome for an interfaith conference on “Religions and Cultures in Dialogue” organised by the Community of Sant’Egidio, attended Mass this morning [...] Read more »

The Difference between Story and Narrative

by Steven R. Corman A presentation by John Hagel, Chairman of Deloitte, at the recent SXSW conference has been getting a lot of play in the blogosphere.  In it, Hagel advocates differentiating story from narrative.  While he is right to draw the distinction and gets some of the differences right, he misses some key features of narratives that explain why they can be so persuasive. In his presentation, Hagel notes the power of stories for […] Read more »

NATO Strategic Comm and Narrative in Afghanistan

by Steven R. Corman I am currently in Izmir, Turkey attending the 5th NATO SHAPE Conference on Strategic Communication.  Narrative has been an important theme at the conference. Gen. John Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, addressed the topic in his keynote. A panel (on which I presented) was devoted to it as well.  Both dealt with issues of considerable interest, namely how NATO and ISAF would handle strategic communication […] Read more »