This research discusses the role of visual violence as it relates to non-state actors within asymmetric warfare as a form of indirect coercion, siting the logic of Thomas Schelling. It argues that irrationality, as a perception from the state actor toward the non-state actor is a rational approach in order to produce the desired fear and publicity. The amount of fear and publicity is measured by the amount of inhumanity that is presented within the visual narration and the amount of irrational hysteria that comes from the audience. In using a comparative and visual analysis, two non-state actors who utilized visual violence, the Red Brigades and ISIS, have shown varying effects of visual violence on their targeted audience. It concludes that the visual violence, as a concept, being distinguished from its visual component and its violent component, does not have the desired impact unless the image contains the aforementioned features: the perception of irrationality and a high level of inhumanity.


Political Science Department

Degree Name

MA in Political Science

Graduation Date


Submission Date

May 2017

First Advisor

Pinfari, Marco

Committee Member 1

Korany, Bahgat

Committee Member 2

Hodgkins, Allison


110 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item


Vanessa Korany thesis Fellowship