Research@StAndrews
 
The University of St Andrews

Research@StAndrews:FullText >
International Relations (School of) >
International Relations >
International Relations Theses >

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10023/993
This item has been viewed 106 times in the last year. View Statistics

Files in This Item:

File Description SizeFormat
JamesDumasPhDThesis.pdf2.98 MBAdobe PDFView/Open
Title: The race for Muslim hearts and minds : a social movement analysis of the U.S. war on terror and popular support in the Muslim world
Authors: Dumas, James M.
Supervisors: Lang, Anthony F.
Keywords: Counterterrorism
Social movement theory
Counterinsurgency
Terrorism and political violence
Political Islam
Social construction
Framing narratives
Public opinion
Models and agency
Issue Date: 22-Jun-2010
Abstract: According to conventional wisdom winning hearts and minds is one of the most important goals for defeating terrorism. However, despite repeated claims about U.S. efforts to build popular support as part of the war on terror during the first seven years after 9/11, a steady stream of polls and surveys delivered troubling news. Using a counterinsurgency and social movement informed approach, I explain why the United States performed poorly in the race for Muslim hearts and minds, with a specific focus on problems inherent in the social construction of terrorism, the use of an enemy-centric model while overestimating agency, and the counterproductive effect of policy choices on framing processes. Popular support plays wide-ranging roles in counterterrorism, including: influencing recruitment, fundraising, operational support, and the flow of intelligence; providing credibility and legitimacy; and, sanctifying or marginalizing violence. Recognizing this the U.S. emphasized public diplomacy, foreign aid, positive military-civilian interactions, democracy promotion, and other efforts targeting populations in the Muslim world. To explain the problems these efforts had, this thesis argues that how Americans think and talk about terrorism, reflected especially in the rhetoric and strategic narrative of the Bush administration, evolved after 9/11 to reinforce normative and enemy-centric biases undermining both understanding of the underlying conflicts and resulting efforts. U.S. policy advocates further misjudged American agency, especially in terms of overemphasizing U.S. centrality, failing to recognize the importance of real grievances, and overestimating American ability to implement its own policies or control the policies of local governments. Finally, the failure to acknowledge the role of U.S. policies counterproductively impacted contested framing processes influencing the evolution of mobilization. The resulting rhetoric and actions reinforced existing anti- American views, contributed to the perception that the war on terror is really a war on Islam, and undermined natural counter narratives.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10023/993
Type: Thesis
Publisher: University of St Andrews
Appears in Collections:International Relations Theses



This item is protected by original copyright

Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

 

DSpace Software Copyright © 2002-2012  Duraspace - Feedback
For help contact: Digital-Repository@st-andrews.ac.uk | Copyright for this page belongs to St Andrews University Library | Terms and Conditions (Cookies)