Iconografía estatal y Pathosformel : la construcción de las identidades políticas del Estado Islámico de Irak y Siria en sus imágenes audiovisuales (2014-2017)


Rullansky, Ignacio
Gutiérrez De Angelis, Marina

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120 p.


Atribución-NoComercial-SinDerivadas 2.0 Genérica (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)




This thesis analyzes the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) audiovisual image production, from 2014 to 2017, produced by Al-Hayat Media Center, its link with the construction of their political identity, and the State iconography edification, together with some Pathosformel rectification. The overall goal is to analyze the link between the images, the political identities construction, and the political iconography of ISIS audiovisual production. The specific aims are: 1) Identify and analyze the possible Pathosformel rectification and its iconography importance in the actor audiovisual production; 2) analyze the role of iconoclasm as an instituting act of political identities; 3) Identify the images of key elements that articulates the audiovisual series and analyze their consequences in their political identities construction; 4) Highlight the State iconography elements of the actor trying to build their political identities.

Our hypothesis affirms that in the ISIS audiovisual image production, certain Pathosformel are rectified, a special treatment of iconoclasm is made, and the pre-eminence of some key images is observed (that is to say, “elements” that operate as “substitute forms of the social”) in order to build a certain political iconography, this being a determining factor in the production of the actor's political identity.

The main focus will be “political iconography” (Bredekamp, 2007; 2017), placing us, in a general way, in a perspective related to the Bildwissenschaft or “science of the image”. However, we will also integrate other perspectives close to “visual studies” (Mitchell, 2017), other issues of importance in the history of the development of the perspective in the Middle East (Belting, 2012), Freedberg's approach to iconoclasm (2017), and other contributions of the image philosophy (Deleuze, 2018).

Based on this hypothesis and on those analysis methodologies, this thesis aims to discuss with some bibliography that has studied certain aspects, mainly "communicational", of the actor's images: understanding that the images of the actor pursue an eminently "propaganda" purpose, without considering the process of construction of political identities that the actor carries out from his images. This research is framed in lines of work that reflect on other aspects of images, beyond the "communicational" ones, starting from a methodological corpus that will leave out a "semiotic" perspective.

In the analysis, we identified three Pathosformel in the ISIS identity construction, which we call: Identitary Pathosformel, Iconoclastic Pathosformel of the Body Destruction, and Patrimonial Pathosformel. Likewise, in the analysis carried out on the audiovisual images that refer to the iconoclastic aspects of the actor, we highlight the importance of the use of perspective and the “subjective point of view”: aspects that are also fundamental in the identity dynamics of the group. Finally, we have recognized three key elements in the audiovisual images produced by the actor: the Koran, the black flags, and the ISIS currency. These elements are also fundamental in the construction of the ISIS state iconography, and in the construction of its political identities.

In the conclusions, we have enriched the proposed hypothesis, affirming that there is a process of reciprocal constitution between the audiovisual images of ISIS and their political identities, since the latter is built by the same images. Furthermore, we detected some limitations of our analysis and aspects not addressed during the research work: 1) possible unidentified Pathosformel, 2) the lack of an analytical approach regarding the images related to the "law" (sharia) and the childhood in the productions of our actor, and, finally, 3) the deficit of reflections on the absence of images about women.

Título obtenido

Magister de la Universidad de Buenos Aires en Comunicación y Cultura

Institución otorgante

Universidad de Buenos Aires. Facultad de Ciencias Sociales

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