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Applied Linguistics Review

Editor-in-Chief: Wei, Li

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Discourses of terror: The U.S. from the viewpoint of the ‘Other’

Sinfree Makoni
Published Online: 2013-03-28 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/applirev-2013-0002


Discourses on terror have been encrypted in the events of 9/11 in 2001 perhaps more than any single event since the end of the Cold War. Even though these discourses are projected as a global phenomenon, very few studies have analysed how they are framed by non-U.S. actors, especially by al-Qaeda and to some extent al-Shabaab. An analysis of discourses of terror by al-Qaeda is invaluable in determining how the U.S. is represented from the perspectives of the “other.” Using Critical Discourse Analysis as an analytic and interpretive framework, this article analyses al-Qaeda declassified intelligence reports captured by the U.S. in order to establish a view of “terror” from an al-Qaeda insider perspective. The article argues that there is a convergence of ideas and overlap in terms of the discourses of terror between the U.S. and al-Qaeda, which is ironic because of the firm distinction made by the U.S. government between “us” – the civilized nations – and “them” – the barbarian, evil murderers of innocent civilians.

Keywords: terrorism; counter-terrorism; al-Qaeda; global war on terror; 9/11

About the article

Sinfree Makoni

Sinfree Makoni is an Africanist who teaches in the Department of Applied Linguistics and Program in African Studies at Pennsylvania State University, USA. He is also a Research Fellow at the Centre of International Research in Terrorism at Penn State.

Pennsylvania State University, USA

Published Online: 2013-03-28

Published in Print: 2013-03-29

Citation Information: Applied Linguistics Review, Volume 4, Issue 1, Pages 23–42, ISSN (Online) 1868-6311, ISSN (Print) 1868-6303, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/applirev-2013-0002.

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©[2013] by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston.Get Permission

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