Document Type

Capstone Project (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


Social, Behavioral & Global Studies

First Advisor

Juan Jose Gutiérrez


This paper is an attempt to use various theories in the social sciences as a tool to understand the mechanisms employed in ISIS indoctrination and recruitment tactics. There is a discussion of theories that have been developed in the field of influence psychology, rationalizing the context of indoctrination within this area of study. There is a discussion of proposedly relevant materials in philosophy, specifically simulacrum and linguistic deconstruction. These components are extrapolated to interpret a first person account of ISIS indoctrination, the first-ever ISIS recruitment film, and a Radical-Islamist periodical Inspire Magazine. Using a form of propaganda film analysis, and a comparative analysis, this research found that ISIS recruitment tactics rely on a scheme that is similar to cult indoctrination: deconstructing a target's social reality, reconstructing their social reality, and preventing outsider influence once their reality has been reconstructed.