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#JESUISPARIS?: An Appeal to Hypocrisy and Justifications for Mass Casualty Violence


We draw from Sykes and Matza’s techniques of neutralization theory to interpret how Islamic State and the Levant (ISIL) soft-sympathizers justify violence perpetrated by ISIL. Data come from Tweets associated with ISIL-affiliated accounts that occurred within 24 hours of three high-profile ISIL-attributed attacks: Paris, Nice, and Orlando. Our findings suggest that condemnation of the condemners was a particularly salient neutralization technique used to point out the perverse motives and inconsistent behaviors of Western armed forces, media, and the public. More specifically, we found that the condemnation of the condemners was underlined by three specific claims: (1) comparable violence, (2) selective silence, and (3) differential humanity. Together, these claims intended to display the perceived hypocrisy of ISIL condemners, to undermine the moral credibility of the West, and to serve as the foundation for justifying ISIL-attributed violence. We conclude with theoretical implications and suggestions for policy and practice.

Publication Information

Full Citation:

Sporer, Karyn, Michael K. Logan, Gina S. Ligon, and Doug C. Derrick. 2019. "#JESUISPARIS?: An Appeal to Hypocrisy and Justifications for Mass Casualty Violence." Journal of Qualitative Criminal Justice & Criminology 8 (October). https://www.jqcjc.org/current.html

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