Symbols of Terror : '9/11' as the Word of the Thing and the Thing of the word

KILBY, Laura (2015). Symbols of Terror : '9/11' as the Word of the Thing and the Thing of the word. Journal For The Theory Of Social Behaviour. (In Press)

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Link to published version:: 10.1111/jtsb.12097


This paper adopts a social representations approach to examine the ‘9/11’ symbol which is argued to be a centrally organising, communication oriented, symbolic resource within contemporary representations of terrorism. Within the context of the events of September 11 2001 as a point of shared history which has come to be understood as a significant world event (Liu et al, 2009), the ‘9/11’ symbol is argued to fulfil a triple function in contemporary representations of terrorism. Firstly, the ‘9/11’ symbol provides a central anchor for the events of September 11 2001. Secondly the ‘9/11’ symbol acts as a powerful rhetorical resource for objectifying the abstract concept of terrorism. Lastly, alongside the capacity to objectify the abstract, the ‘9/11’ symbol also enables a counter process of transcendentalisation (Billig, 1988) whereby it transforms the object into the abstract. As a result the ‘9/11’ symbol is highly suited to widespread mobilisation of easily apprehended notions defining what terrorism is, which do not readily provoke contest and are widely constructed as mundane forms of ‘truth’ amongst a community of users.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute > Communication and Computing Research Centre
Identification Number: 10.1111/jtsb.12097
Depositing User: Laura Kilby
Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2015 12:03
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2016 21:24

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