Anxiety and the creation of the scapegoated other

Caron Eileen Gentry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines how anxiety saturates the neo-Orientalist driven thesis of new terrorism, especially in how both anxiety and new terrorism are related to the unknown. Of particular importance is the description of al Qaeda as an amorphous and thus unknowable threat by Western academics and the media, which reifies the discursive neo-Orientalist binary of the West versus Islam. Scholars of International Relations are increasingly engaging with emotions and their impact on binary and hierarchical structures. Emotions operate relationally as they are the articulation of affect. The emotions discursively constitute identity and community structures, helping to inform ideas of self and other. The more specific study of anxiety reveals similarities, but anxiety also operates differently from other emotions as it is focused on future potentialities. Thus, terrorism and anxiety are co-constitutive in their conceptual dependency on futurity and uncertainty that sustain the neo-Orientalist binary.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-146
JournalCritical Studies on Security
Issue number2
Early online date24 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Emotion
  • Anxiety
  • Terrorism
  • Neo-Orientalism
  • Discourse
  • Poststructuralism


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