Re-formulated problem statement
It is time to look at this problem from a different perspective. It is time to admit that female suicide bombing is a separate issue and cannot be addressed by “universal” methods. Practitioners can use several different ways to analyze terrorism and women to understanding their condition and motivations.
One of the options is to use a narrative analysis to determine individualized key points of the story with consideration of culture. The narrative analysis has the ability to look deeper into the meaning of the words, so as to emphasize culture in its thick description, without universalization or westernization. J. Bruner in his book, “Act of Meaning”, described the notion of “folk psychology” which “...summarized not simply how things are, but how they should be” (p.40). Many researchers present “how things are”, but fail to present how these women think things should be. Muslim women as martyrs are poorly understood; they are suffering from the loss of significant people such as family members, and they reside in a specific culture with social instability. My essay will examine how narrative analysis can be used in identifying “should be” themes and key points, which could be addressed while studying female suicidal terrorism.
To illuminate this methodology, I chose to analyze the diary of Zulikhan Elihadzhieva, a Chechen woman who committed a suicidal attack in July 5, 2003. While reading, I tried to apply some techniques of structural narrative analysis that might fit for this text. Initially, my intent was to use the L. White & A. Taket Narrative Analysis Method. However, in the process of analyzing the diary, I had a strong sense that the story had a plot similar to folktales, and the meaning of the stories was somewhat mystical and deeply cultural. Therefore, I turned my attention to J. Bruner and his ideas about culturally oriented psychology. He said, “... culture and the quest for meaning within culture are the proper causes of human actions” (p.20).
Chechen culture, despite the Soviet past, is still very traditional and patriarchic. Heroic folk poems are crucial in the development of a Chechen’s national identity. Researchers observed that “Figuring in fairy tales are magic artifacts, people of paranormal abilities, fictitious animals (dragons, winged horses, etc) and travel to other worlds.” For example, the Chechen national anthem is called Death or Freedom, and it starts with, “We were born at night, when the she-wolf whelped. In the morning, as lions howl, we were given our names,” and finishes with, “Never will we appear submissive before anyone, Death or Freedom – we can choose only one way.” The lessons from folk tales and poems are deeply rooted in culture and people’s consciousness; they prescribe favorable behavior, and are often use for education. After learning from the anthem, “Our sisters cure our wounds by their songs, the eyes of the beloved arouse us to...