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Territory and Belonging in Europe

The Case of the Burial of the European Jihadists


October 26, 2015
12:15pm - 2:00pm
Hoffmann Room, Busch Hall
October 26, 2015
12:15pm - 2:00pm
Hoffmann Room, Busch Hall

A light lunch will be served before the seminar

Riva Kastoryano will speak about her new book Que faire des corps des djihadistes? ('What to do with the body of the jihadist?') The book analyzes the response of the US, Spanish and British governments following the suicide attacks in New York (2001), Madrid (2004) and London (2005).

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Kastoryano's draws from official reports, which trace the travels of jihadists across the globe as well as the complex web that links them to each other, and on interviews with authorities, stakeholders and representatives of local communities in the country of immigration and the country of origin. States do not recognize suicide bombers as warriors; their burial is thus neither a legal, nor a political nor a diplomatic issue. The authorities' reaction to these bodies have primarily a symbolic and moral significance: it refers to the legitimacy of the enemy and the cause for which (s)he died. The theoretical framework for the three cases analyzed in this book refers to the relevance and permanence of territory in the process of globalization. To raise the question of the burial of the suicide bomber is to question the relationship between territory and belonging. For states, burying the remains of suicide bombers means to project themselves in the globalization by “relocating” the body as a reminder of their territorial belonging against an imagined non-territorial, global nation represented by umma; a way of binding the body, this object of global power to “a land” that is national, and in the case of the second generation of immigrants in Europe, to “restore” a territorial citizenship.

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