A Conceptual Framework of the 'Islamic State' and Its Containment

31 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2017 Last revised: 13 Mar 2018

Jodok Troy

University of Innsbruck; Stanford University

Date Written: November 14, 2017


The transformation of the “Islamic State” from a local insurgent organization to a regional hierarchic and territory-based state-like entity and now to a global clandestine network-based terrorist organization does not make containment obsolete. Within limits, containment can effectively continue to halt the “Islamic State’s” ideology and violent offshoots. While containing the “Islamic State” can be informed by historical experience, it needs to adapt to new circumstances of the actor’s nature and political context. This article conceptualizes the “Islamic State’s” shifting structure (a state-like entity now transforming to a network) and hybrid modes of agency (secular and religious). Based on the framework that ties together those concepts, the paper illustrates why containment is applicable against the “Islamic State”. A second step illustrates how containment can be an effective strategy confronting this entity, even while it is degenerating in its infamous form.

Keywords: Containment, Conflict, International Society, Islamic State, George F. Kennan, Political violence, Terrorism

Suggested Citation

Troy, Jodok, A Conceptual Framework of the 'Islamic State' and Its Containment (November 14, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3034359 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3034359

Jodok Troy (Contact Author)

University of Innsbruck ( email )

Universitätsstraße 15
Innsbruck, Innsbruck 6020
+43(0)512.507.2849 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.jodok-troy.at

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

HOME PAGE: http://tec.fsi.stanford.edu/people/jodok-troy

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