This paper examines the recruitment strategy of the Islamic State (IS) is response to the growing number of Americans being recruited and leaving for the caliphate. I will refer to the Islamic State as IS because I am looking at aspects of recruitment that come from all over the world and not specifically from Syria. I will also be referring to the caliphate without quotations because using quotations suggests that a true Islam exists. There have been many misconceptions about IS made by both the public and government officials. I attempt to clarify why exactly IS is so successful at recruiting in America. What my research seems to show is that it is not the highly broadcasted violence that recruits are being lured to. It is rather that IS is extremely effective at creating and conducting affective ties and it is because of these personal connections that cause an individual to pledge allegiance to IS. These personal connections are enabled by social media and has been identified as a key reason why IS is successful. Another aspect of IS recruitment strategy is the peer-to-peer contact that is made between the recruit and the recruiter which is a strategy unique to IS. I conclude by asserting that counter-narratives and alternative narratives are not an effective way of countering the recruitment strategy of IS. American recruits are supporting IS not necessarily because of the persuasive narrative of IS, but because of the personal ties created. If any narrative should be broadcasted it should be from IS defectors.
Shackleton, Andi M., "Making It Personal: How the Islamic State Targets the Alienated" (2016). Senior Independent Study Theses. Paper 6998.
New Religious Movements
Bachelor of Arts
Senior Independent Study Thesis
© Copyright 2016 Andi M. Shackleton