Nadezhda Vasileva 1, Alina Mayboroda 1, Iskender Yasaveev 1
  • 1 National Research University Higher School of Economics, 16 Soyuza Pechatnikov Str., Saint Petersburg, 190008, Russian Federation

“Why Do They Go to ISIL?”: A Discourse Analysis of Young Dagestanians’ Narratives

2017, vol. 16, No. 2, pp. 54–74 [issue contents]
The article presents the results of the study into the rhetoric of youth in Dagestan about those who joined ISIL. The authors reconstruct the everyday discourse of the “outgo to ISIL” among the youth in the region, presented by Russian authorities and media as one of the leading regions in terms of the number of ISIL followers. The research focus is not on the public forms of the constructing of social problems, but on the everyday talk, in particular, of the claims made in the course of in-depth interviews. The study is based on the constructionist research program developed by Peter Ibarra and John Kitsuse, and focuses on the identification of the discursive ways of problematization used by Dagestan youth in relation to “outgo to ISIL” and “outgoing” young people. The young Dagestanians occasionally use the rhetoric of endangerment, including the metaphor of a “virus”. However, the dominant rhetoric is the rhetoric of unreason. The terms used in the description of those who “went to ISIL” correspond to this idiom’s vocabulary. The image of manipulation which is central for the rhetoric of unreason is detailed by constructing the image of “recruiter”. One of the identified features of the talk of the “outgo to ISIL” was episodic, that is, different from the previous and subsequent phrases and utterances of young people in accordance with the official discourse, supposedly in order to protect themselves from a possible suspicion of sympathy for ISIL. However, the rhetoric of unreason indicates a lack of social distance between young Dagestanians and those who have “went”. Informants express regret and sympathy in relation to their families, and link the “outgo to ISIL” with unemployment. The informants’ utterances suggest the need for the development of social policy, education, and employment opportunities in Dagestan, rather than the strengthening of repressive measures.
Citation: Nadezhda V., Mayboroda A., Yasaveev I. (2017) «Pochemu ukhodyat v IGIL?»: diskurs-analiz narrativov molodykh dagestantsev [“Why Do They Go to ISIL?”: A Discourse Analysis of Young Dagestanians’ Narratives]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 16, no 2, pp. 54-74 (in Russian)
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