The Biopolitics of ISIS’ Iconoclastic Propaganda

  • Gabriella Calchi-Novati
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Theatre and Performance History book series (PSTPH)


This chapter analyses the biopolitical tropes that lie behind the videos produced and broadcast by ISIS. It will show how and to what extent these biopolitical tropes, within ISIS’ propaganda, lie on the unstable threshold between theatre and performance and the iconoclastic use of both. In agreement with Agamben’s claim that life is always caught in a state of indistinction, such an indistinction could easily be envisioned as residing in-between what performance studies scholar Diana Taylor calls the archive (i.e. broadcast videos) and the repertoire (i.e. the “behind the scenes” of such videos). The concept of indistinction is evident also in the hybrid realm in which ISIS’ propaganda performs, one that produces live consequences (people are actually beheaded), while still happening (at least for the audience) within digital environments (i.e. the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and so on).


Zizek Biopolitics ISIS Make belief Social media Globalization Digital performance Propaganda 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Trinity CollegeDublinIreland

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