Library

Welcome to VOX-Pol’s Online Library, a research and teaching resource, which collects in one place a large volume of publications related to various aspects of violent online political extremism.

Our searchable database contains material in a variety of different formats including downloadable PDFs, videos, and audio files comprising e-books, book chapters, journal articles, research reports, policy documents and reports, and theses.

All open access material collected in the Library is easy to download. Where the publications are only accessible through subscription, the Library will take you to the publisher’s page from where you can access the material.

We will continue to add more material as it becomes available with the aim of making it the most comprehensive online Library in this field.

If you have any material you think belongs in the Library—whether your own or another authors—please contact us at onlinelibrary@voxpol.eu and we will consider adding it to the Library. It is also our aim to make the Library a truly inclusive multilingual facility and we thus welcome contributions in all languages.

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TitleYearAuthorTypeLinks
The Interaction of Extremist Propaganda and Anger as Predictors of Violent Responses
2017 Shortland, N., Nader, E., Imperillo, N., Kyrielle, R. and Dmello, J. Journal
In this study, and with a view to extending upon existing findings on the effects of general violent media on violent cognitions, we experimentally measured the relationship between exposure to extremist propaganda and violent cognitions. Our results countered our hypotheses and the wider findings of violent media and aggression that exposure to violent stimuli increases violent thoughts and that this effect is moderated by trait aggression. Specifically, this study found that participants with low and medium trait aggression became more pro-social after being exposed to extremist propaganda. We discuss these results with reference to theories of terror management and mortality salience, as well as the implications of these results for wider theories of the role of online extremist material in the wider “radicalization” process.
The Internet And Homegrown Jihadist Terrorism: Assessing U S Detection Techniques
2010 Banez, J.D. MA Thesis
The idea of homegrown terrorism is not a new concept, especially considering the history of challenges faced by the United States and other Western countries. However, the current violent jihadist problem has overshadowed those past misfortunes in terms of its objective and volatility. What is emergent is the means by which the individuals involved in this movement reinforce or possibly operationalize their radicalized behavior. The Internet is often that vehicle. Efforts to reform U.S. intelligence have placed increasing value on open-source information for threat assessments. Consequently, the open Internet has been targeted in search of radical actors, both foreign and homegrown. Some analysts contend that the availability of radical discourse on the Internet presents an opportunity for early identification by authorities. This thesis analyzes the value of open-source exploitation of the Internet in the domestic counterterrorism role in relation to other detection techniques in order to extract best practices and lessons learned for improved intelligence and law enforcement activities.
The Internet and Its Potentials for Networking and Identity Seeking: A Study on ISIS
2017 Sardarnia, K. Journal
With the accelerating process of globalization and the development of its technological dimension, more and more opportunities and channels are available to the terrorist groups in the world to mobilize resources and advocates. “Islamic State of Iraq and Sham” (ISIS), as the most modern terrorist-excommunicative group (Takfiry), has been able to utilize the Internet and social networks highly adeptly. While ignoring the function of long-term structural and essential factors underlying the formation of ISIS, and also combining the networked society theory and triple forms of identities proposed by Manuel Castells with theoretical discussions on identity making, networking, and mobilization of media, the current article seeks to analyze the role of cyberspace and social networks as accelerating and opportunistic agents in mobilizing resources and disseminating ISIS. Using an explanatory analytical research method, the current article mainly intends to find a reply to the question: What has been the role of online social networks in connection with ISIS as an excommunicative and terrorist group? According to the research hypothesis, due to ISIS’s subtle, prevocational-emotional and targeted utilization of online social networks, the networks have played the role of an accelerator and opportunity maker in some areas including network building, guidance of public opinion, identity making, and the promotion of project identity of this terrorist group. The general conclusion obtained from the article is that ISIS, as the most terrifying and the most modern group equipped with cyber media, has been able to attract many forces out of fanatical religious groups, unemployed people, criminals, etc., worldwide. Additionally, with the recruitment of fanatics, ISIS has been able to accomplish identity making and network building. As a result, regional security and even security in Western countries is also highly endangered.
The Internet in Indonesia: Development and Impact of Radical Websites
2010 Yang Hui, J. Journal
The Internet has become a crucial part of modern society's life due to its ability to facilitate communication and structure contemporary society. Indonesia has not been left out of this global phenomenon. The Internet came to Indonesia in 1983 and its usage has continued to expand ever since, especially within institutions of learning and in the government sector. The study of radical websites must be situated within the development of the Internet in Indonesia in general instead of being examined by itself. The impact of certain activities such as cyberterrorism must then be examined in perspective, given the vast expanse of Indonesia as an archipelago and the resulting difficulties in linking the entire country to the Internet. This article seeks to trace the development of the Internet in Indonesia and examine the resulting impact on the reach of the radical Bahasa Indonesia Islamic websites in the Indonesian Archipelago and beyond. It also highlights typical narrative and operations of the radical websites, which serves to distinguish them from radical websites from elsewhere, such as the Middle East.
The Internet in The Paris Riots of 2005
2014 Tønnevold, C. Journal
The riots in the suburbs of Paris (and across the country) in October and November 2005 lasted for about three weeks. The degree of violence and anger of the riots astonished an entire world. While the mainstream media, both in France and internationally, covered these events ‘as usual,’ some became aware that the internet seemed to play a role in the youths’ involvement and engagement in the events. This paper attempts to answer some important questions regarding the role of the internet: Why and how was it important? Did the web-only-publications, such as online news-sites and blogs, have any function for the people participating in the riots, or for those who were trying to put an end to them? What is more generally the potential of the internet, outside of the established media that also operate online, when ‘hot social issues’ catch fire and become explosive happenings.
The Internet Police
2019 Breinholt, J. Report
This paper, part of the Legal Perspectives on Tech Series, was commissioned in conjunction with the Congressional Counterterrorism Caucus.
The Internet Rhetoric of the Ku Klux Klan: A Case Study in Web Site Community Building Run Amok
2009 Bostdorff, D.M. Journal
Many scholars have praised the Internet as a locale where positive community building takes place. Conversely,this study examines 23 KKK web sites as an exemplar of how groups may engage in community building of a most egregious sort. Through appeals to white masculinity and, on some web sites, segmented appeals to women and to youth and children, Klan web sites attempt to create community that is unified by its opposition to minority groups, particularly Jews. The angry style of Klan discourse, which is compatible with the rhetorical conventions of the Web, discourages dissenting points of view while inflaming potential supporters. Moreover,Klan rhetoric on the Web encourages odious political activity, including acts of violence, at the same time that Klan web sites disavow responsibility for the consequences of their messages.
The Internet: A Virtual Training Camp?
2008 Stenersen, A. Journal
This study aims to investigate how Al Qaeda uses the Internet for military training and preparation. What kind of training material is available on jihadi webpages, who produces it, and for what purpose? The article argues that in spite of a vast amount of training-related literature online, there have been few organized efforts by Al Qaeda to train their followers by way of the Internet. The Internet is per today not a “virtual training camp” organized from above, but rather a resource bank maintained and accessed largely by self-radicalized sympathizers.
The ISIS Twitter Census: Defining and Describing the Population of ISIS Supporters on Twitter
2015 Berger, J.M. and Morgan, J. Report
The Islamic State, known as ISIS or ISIL, has exploited social media, most notoriously Twitter, to send its propaganda and messaging out to the world and to draw in people vulnerable to radicalisation.
The Islamic State of Tumblr - Recruiting Western Women
2016 Pues, V. Article
The research discusses ISIS’s Media Strategy towards western women by examining
the Tumblr blog UMM LAYTH. Written by a young woman from Scotland who
traveled to the Islamic State, the blog speaks about daily life under ISIS. The paper
gives a background on the author, the content and the blog’s style.
The Islamic State's Ideology & Propaganda
2015 Brookings Institution Video
On March 11, the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World convened a panel to launch two new Brookings papers that break down the ideology and social media methods of the Islamic State to trace how the group rose in influence to become a global jihadi movement.
The Islamic State's Media Decline (ppt)
2016 VOX-Pol Network of Excellence Presentation
The Islamic State's Virtual Caliphate
2017 Hamblet, M. Article
The public outcry attending President Trump's attempted travel ban from seven radical Muslim states, designed to prevent foreign terrorists from entering the country, has diverted attention from the longstanding danger of homegrown jihadists. As early as 2007, the New York Police Department (NYPD) released a 92-page report documenting the extent of al-Qaeda-linked homegrown jihad in Europe and the United States.[1] The Obama administration, however, went out of its way to ignore, deny, and whitewash any homegrown terror that smacked of Islamist violence. But a decade later, al-Qaeda has been all but eclipsed by the Islamic State (ISIS), which has skillfully used social media to become the foremost purveyor of jihadist indoctrination in the West, creating a "virtual caliphate," extremely dangerous and easily accessible to vulnerable men and women from a variety of backgrounds in a manner al-Qaeda was never able to achieve. Even were all territory now under ISIS control to be retaken, this virtual caliphate could continue to pose a major threat.
The Islamic State’s Global Propaganda Strategy
2016 Gartenstein-Ross, D., Barr, N. and Moreng, B. Article
This Research Paper aims to analyse in depth the global propaganda strategy of the so-called “Islamic State” (IS) by looking at the methods through which this grand strategy is carried out as well as the objectives that IS wants to achieve through it. The authors first discuss IS’ growth model, explaining why global expansion and recruitment of foreign fighters are pivotal to IS success. Having in mind this critical role, the authors then explore the narratives and themes used by the group to mobilise foreign fighters and jihadists groups. Third, the paper analyses how IS deploys its narratives in those territories where it has established a foothold. Fourth, it outlines IS’ direct engagement strategy and how it is used to facilitate allegiance of other jihadist groups. The final section of the paper offers a menu of policy options that stakeholders can implement to counter IS’ global propaganda efforts.
The Islamic State’s Use of Online Social Media
2015 Blaker, L. Journal
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has made great use of the Internet and online social media sites to spread its message and encourage others, particularly young people, to support the organization, to travel to the Middle East to engage in combat—fighting side-by-side with other jihadists, or to join the group by playing a supporting role—which is often the role carved out for young women who are persuaded to join ISIS. The terrorist group has even directed sympathizers to commit acts of violence wherever they are when traveling to the Middle East isn’t possible. ISIS propaganda is now more frequently aimed at Westerners and more specifically aimed at the “Millennial generation.”

Clearly, social media has proven to be an extremely valuable tool for the terrorist organization and is perfectly suited for the very audience it’s intending to target. According to Pew Research Center’s Social Networking Fact Sheet, 89% of adults aged 18 - 29 use social media” 1 Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, and even YouTube, allow ISIS propaganda to reach across the globe in real time. Increasingly, ISIS’ posts to Internet sites include sophisticated, production-quality video and images that incorporate visual effects. What messages from jihadists induce young Westerners to become involved with the terrorist group? What convinces young people from Europe, Australia, Canada, and the United States—many who are technically runaways, still in their teens—to leave their homelands to join ISIS on the battlefield? What risks does a home country face when its nationals communicate and establish relationships with members of ISIS? Can the jihadist social network propaganda machine be shut down, and weighing all factors, is stopping ISIS rhetoric on the Internet the best course of action? This paper explores these and other questions related to terrorist groups’ utilization of social media.
The Italian Extreme Right On-line Network: An Exploratory Study Using an Integrated Social Network Analysis and Content Analysis Approach
2006 Tateo, L. Journal
All over the world, extreme right activists and neo-nazis are using the Internet as a tool for communication and recruitment in order to avoid national laws and police investigations. The last 10 years have seen both the diffusion of CMC environments and the rise of extreme right movements in several European countries. This study investigates the structure of the Italian extreme right network, taking into account the latest trends in the social psychology of CMC to describe the nature of ties among Italian extreme right websites.
The Janus Face of New Media Propaganda: The Case of Patani Neojihadist YouTube Warfare and Its Islamophobic Effect on Cyber-Actors
2014 Andrea,V. Journal
Surfing on the Internet 2.0 revolution, Patani 2.0 has allowed Patani neojihadist militants to access new competitive spaces and create their own imagined online community by penetrating new realms of the Internet. This article discusses the use of new media militant propaganda by Patani militants and how it is Janus faced. It further examines how the Patani 2.0 social interaction enabled by social media such as YouTube leads to group cohesion among certain actors and the formation of a collective identity that is clustered around the notions of Muslim victimization and defensive jihad; and how, at the same time, it reinforces antithetical identities and fosters group identity competition, where one religious group is often pitted against another. As a result, the Janus effect of Patani neojihadist YouTube online propaganda, while it primarily seeks to radicalize, also generates a reactionary, often virulent, anti-Muslim response from the movement's critics.
The Key Lessons Learned from the Use of the Internet by Jihadist Groups
2017 Soriano, M. Report
This work analyzes some of the key lessons learned from the use of the Internet by jihadist groups over the last twenty years: 1) Online activism can be a substitute for commitment to armed jihad. 3) Terrorists are "early adopters" of new technologies, to enjoy spaces of impunity. 4) The investigation of terrorist activities on the Internet becomes increasingly difficult as a result of the adoption of measures of self-protection 5). The terrorist message on the Internet has the capacity to transcend the intentions of its creators.
The Kids Are Alt-Right: The Intellectual Origins of the Alt-Right
2019 Jones, A.W. PhD Thesis
The electoral success and increased media presence of the Far-Right ideology known as the Alternative Right has catapulted the once marginal fringe movement into popular political discourse. The term Alternative Right is used in contrast to Alt-Right, which is a specific subsection of the broader Alt-Right who are associated with Richard Spencer. This dissertation examines the theories that make up the Alternative Right by addressing the question: How have the divergent political theory traditions of the Alternative Right coalesced into a new reactionary political ideology?The first half of the dissertation defines the Alternative Right and the historical context for the movement. The dissertation defines the Alternative Right by its axioms of the right to difference, the primacy of cultural metapolitics and hierarchical individualism. The second half examines the four major intellectual influences of the Alternative Right: The Techno-libertarians know as the Grey Tribe, NeoReactionary Thought, the European New Right and the American White Nationalists. The dissertation concludes that the divergent political theory of the Alternative Right is unified based on its shared reactionary values, its break from American liberal-conservativism and a consistent focus on the literature of radicalization and critique. The goal of the Alternative Right is a rebirth of racial/gendered consciousness and a new American/European renaissance.
The Kremlin and DAESH Information Activities
2016 Sillanpaa, A., Simons, G., Reynolds, A., and Curika, L. Report
This paper summarizes discussions held on 24 May 2016 in Riga, Latvia, which focused on exploring the Kremlin and DAESH information activities in order to improve our understanding of the nature of these communications and their effect on Western societies. The questions discussed were:

 

How are the communications and messages of DAESH and the Kremlin constructed and disseminated?

Are their methods changing?

Why do such messages appeal to youth, even if they are familiar with Western Values and consumerism?

What are the weakest aspects of our information environment and what can we do to improve?