The only book to examine terrorism as a rhetorical act

“This is an excellent text in furthering our understanding of the web of language and how it creates our mediated realities – which reflect our culture, politics, religion, economics, etc. Students really like the case studies and how it complements the theory and practice of rhetoric. I think this book has applications for almost any course in communication.”

—J. Gregory Payne, Emerson College

Concise, succinct, and provocative, Communicating Terror, Second Edition explores multiple rhetorical dimensions of terrorism, connects terrorism to communication theories, and helps readers understand how this violence creates a public discourse for multiple target audiences.

Author Joseph S. Tuman uses fascinating case studies and examples as he explores both dissent terrorism and state terror and looks at terrorism from a communicative perspective. Presenting terrorism as a process of communication between terrorists and multiple audiences, this book examines a range of rhetorical components, including definitions and labels, symbolism in terrorism, the relationship between terror and the media, and public oratory about terrorism—by both victims of terrorism and terrorists themselves.

New to the Second Edition

Includes three new chapters on public address and speeches concerning terrorism, symbols and targets of terror, and terrorism, rhetorical theory, and mass media; Offers new examples, case studies, speeches, and topic coverage, including expanded coverage of the Internet and the “War on Terror;” new material on Iran, Cambodia, Rwanda, Hamas and Hezbollah, and dirty bombs; Provides expanded treatment of rhetoric and theory with a focus on ideological criticism, neo-classical criticism, dramatism, and media-centered terrorism; Examines diverse acts of terrorism—not just 9/11 or the recent events in the Middle East—to show the history and various usages of these acts as a medium for communication; Includes real case studies of terrorists and terror acts that make applying rhetorical theory practical and accessible.

Intended Audience

Communicating Terror, Second Edition is ideal for use in a wide range of courses, including Media & Politics, Terrorism, Media & Society, Rhetorical Theory/Analysis/Criticism, Defense and National Security, and Political Communication.

Theories of Mass Media for Terrorism

Theories of mass media for terrorism

Up to this point, we have considered how terrorism can be rhetorical by examining the defining and labeling of terror as a rhetorical act; the symbolic messages in terror violence, means, and targets; and the public rhetorical discourse about terror. A final, equally significant factor to consider is the way this rhetoric is to some degree preconditioned in the minds of different audiences by images and representations in mass media. Without the assistance of media, terrorist rhetoric would influence only those in the immediate vicinity of terrorist violence and destruction. Conversely, with the assistance of media, terrorism reaches a much broader, sometimes global audience, and in an era in which most people (at least ...

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