The Faceless Terrorist

A Study of Critical Events in Tajikistan

  • Sophie Roche

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Sophie Roche
    Pages 1-47
  3. Sophie Roche
    Pages 167-202
  4. Sophie Roche
    Pages 203-227
  5. Sophie Roche
    Pages 229-257
  6. Sophie Roche
    Pages 259-300
  7. Sophie Roche
    Pages 301-317
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 319-371

About this book


How could a person portrayed as a terrorist by the Tajik state also be seen as a mujahid fighter in Islam and be a cousin all at the same time? Is this just a matter of perspective and conceptualization? To believe in the protection of concepts to safeguard groups and individuals from the uncertain character of the world, is to deny the existence of chance and the contradictions in life. This book uses approaches from existential anthropology to enquire into the question of how concepts and experiences relate. The focus is on the way the notions jihad, mujahid and terrorism were used during a military intervention in Tajikistan in 2010. The book includes long-term ethnographic material, popular pamphlets on Islam and an internet analysis of the conflict, offering new insights into how concepts and experiences relate. Since the end of the Soviet Union, the people from the republic Tajikistan have struggled to find a place in the larger Muslim world, a painful process unfolding in relation to global events, discourses and politics. The primary readership for the book will come from academia and policy makers.


 The book presents novel material on a fascinating and highly important topic, the nature of ostensibly Islamist political violence against the state in Tajikistan.

John Heathershaw




Concept and Experience Relation Conflict Studies Conceptualization of Terrorism Existential Anthropology Islam in Central Asia Jihad in Central Asia Relationality in Social Anthropology Tajikistan Identity Terrorist Labelling

Authors and affiliations

  • Sophie Roche
    • 1
  1. 1.Social AnthropologyKarl Jaspers Center for Advanced Transcultural StudiesHeidelbergGermany

Bibliographic information