In June 2014, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria branded itself as a caliphate. Over the past year, its catastrophic loss of population centers and governing infrastructure have prompted an avalanche of analysis on the next phase, projecting the group’s likely reversion to insurgency and terrorism.
But the organizational lens only captures part of the picture. The Islamic State’s success as a protostate and its future as an insurgent/terrorist group was and is fueled by a social movement that ensured a steady flow of adherents to execute its ambitions. Understanding the movement’s appeal is crucial to forecasting its future.
Extremism is built on identity — social parameters that define who is part of the movement and who is excluded, known as “in-groups” and “out-groups.” For extremists, these equate to friends and enemies, the saved few and the damned masses.… Seguir leyendo »