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
Virtual Plotters. Drones. Weaponized AI?: Violent Non-State Actors as Deadly Early Adopters
2019 Gartenstein-Ross, D., Shear, M. and Jones, D. Report
Over the past decade, violent non-state actors’ (VNSAs) adoption of new technologies that can help their operations have tended to follow a recognizable general pattern, which this study dubs the VNSA technology adoption curve: As a consumer technology becomes widely available, VNSAs find ways to adapt it to their deadly purposes. This curve tends to progress in four stages:

1. Early Adoption – The VNSA tries to adopt a new technology, and disproportionately underperforms or fails in definable ways.
2. Iteration – The consumer technology that the VNSA is attempting to repurpose undergoes improvements driven by the companies that brought the technology to market. These improvements are designed to enhance consumers’ experience and the utility that consumers derive from the technology. The improvements help the intended end user, but also aid the VNSA, which iterates alongside the company.
3. Breakthrough – During this stage, the VNSA’s success rate with the new technology significantly improves.
4. Competition – Following the VNSA’s seemingly sudden success, technology companies, state actors, and other stakeholders develop countermeasures designed to mitigate the VNSA’s exploitation of the technology. The outcome of this phase is uncertain, as both the VNSA and its competitors enter relatively uncharted territory in the current technological environment. The authorities and VNSA will try to stay one step ahead of one another.

This report begins by explaining the adoption curve, and more broadly the manner in which VNSAs engage in organizational learning. The report then details two critical case studies of past VNSA technological adoption to illustrate how the adoption curve works in practice, and to inform our analysis of VNSA technological adoptions that are likely in the future.
Virtual Terrorism and the Internet E-Learning Options
2007 Cole, D.R. Article
E-learning on the Internet is constituted by the options that this global technology gives the user. This article explores these options in terms of the lifestyle choices and decisions that the learner will make about the virtual worlds, textual meanings and cultural groupings that they will find as they learn online. This is a non-linear process that complicates dualistic approaches to e-learning, such as those which propose real/virtual distinctions. It also sets up the notion of virtual terrorism, which is explained in terms of the political forces that have come about due to e-learning. This article uses the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze as a best fit in order to understand the ways in which the e-learning of the Internet options is apparent in contemporary society. Deleuze made a division between unconscious learning and apprenticeship learning, that makes sense in terms of the virtual and cultural worlds that inform the lifestyle choices on the Net. This is because the navigation of virtual worlds involves imaginative processes that are at the same time an education of the senses of the type that the apprentice will receive. Furthermore, in his work with Félix Guattari, he developed the notion of the plane of immanence, which is used to pinpoint the presence of virtual terrorism in e-learning practices.

Visual Jihad: Constructing the “Good Muslim” in Online Jihadist Magazines
2019 MacDonald, S. and Lorenzo-Dus, Nuria Article
Images are known to have important effects on human perception and persuasion. Jihadist groups are also known to make strategic use of emotive imagery and symbolism for persuasive ends. Yet until recently studies of the online magazines published by violent jihadist groups largely focused on their textual, not their image, content and, while the image content of these magazines is now the subject of a burgeoning number of studies, few of these compare the images used by different groups. This article accordingly offers a cross-group comparison, examining the image content of a total of thirty-nine issues of five online magazines published by four different jihadist groups. Starting with a content analysis, it shows that the images’ most common focus is non-leader jihadis. Using a news values analysis, it then shows how these images of non-leader jihadis are used to visually construct the identity of a “good Muslim.” This construct is characterized by three traits, each corresponding to a different news value: fulfilled (personalization); active (consonance); and respected (prominence). Moreover, these traits are intertwined: fulfillment comes from responding actively to the call to violent jihad, which in turn promises respect. The article concludes by highlighting some subtle differences between how the news values of personalization, consonance, and prominence are realized in the different magazines, and by discussing the implications of the “good Muslim” construct for efforts to develop countermessages.
Voices of the ‘Caucasus Emirate’: Mapping and Analyzing North Caucasus Insurgency Websites
2014 Campana, A. and Ducol, B. Journal
This article looks at Internet use by insurgent groups in the North Caucasus in the context of a regional diffusion of violence. Using a mixed methods research design that combines hyperlink network analysis and micro-discourse analysis, it examines the online characteristics of the Caucasus Emirate and the main frames conveyed by the websites affiliated with the Emirate. It demonstrates the existence of a network of cross-referencing websites that, collectively, articulate the Emirate’s political agenda online and allow for the dissemination of frames across the Web. It also shows that while jihadism provides a cultural resource that fosters a global sense of community, the jihadization of discourse does not eradicate local references as the local dynamics of the conflict have a strong impact on online communicative strategies. Finally, although based on a specific case study, this article highlights the potential of a mixed methods research design as applied to an analysis of virtual insurgent networks.
Voices Of White Resistance: Democratic Theory And The Task Of Contending With White Nationalist Voice
2018 Feshami, K.A. Article
As white nationalists have come to increasing prominence in recent decades, their presence presents a significant challenge to democratic societies. Motivated by a sense of racial imperilment, and opposed, sometimes violently, to core democratic ideals, white nationalists cannot be meaningfully incorporated into the political life of societies which promote inclusiveness and pluralism without threatening those values. Yet democratic theory, which seeks to offer ideal visions of what democratic societies could look like, provides no means for contending with the active presence of white nationalism in contemporary democratic societies. This article uses the concept of voice to explore these shortcomings in several theories of democracy, including deliberative, agonistic, and empowerment theories. In doing so, it draws on a wealth of white nationalist media, both physical and digital, to demonstrate how attitudes regarding racial imperilment, often articulated in terms of a ‘white genocide’, foreclose on any possibility of incorporating white nationalist voices into democratic societies. Moreover, an examination of white nationalists’ ongoing project to shift the boundaries of what is permissible in popular discourse, a process which is amplified by digital media technologies, suggests that they are nevertheless a pressing problem for democratic societies which should be addressed. In doing so, it is important to move beyond the focus on voice which underlays much democratic theory, exploring instead the experiences of social life to which white nationalist voices speak so that we might gain a better understanding of what motivates white nationalist voice and, potentially, how it might be addressed.
Vom Analogen ins Digitale. Eine kurze Geschichte der dschihadistischen Propaganda und ihrer Verbreitung
2020 Zabel, M. Chapter
Der Beitrag bietet eine kurze Einführung in die Geschichte dschihadistischer Propaganda von den 1980er Jahren bis in die Gegenwart. Nicht nur die medientechnologische und -kulturelle Entwicklung, sondern auch geopolitische Konfliktgeschichte mit wichtigen Stationen wie der sowjetischen Intervention in Afghanistan und dem ersten Tschetschenienkrieg sind hier ausschlaggebend. Was die Entwicklung auf dem Feld der Online-Propaganda betrifft, stützt sich der Verfasser auch auf eigenen Erfahrungen im Rahmen der Beobachtung und Analyse dschihadistischer Internet-Auftritte und -Kommunikatverbreitung.
Von al-Zarqawi bis al-Awlaki: Das Internet als neue Form des radikalen Milieus.
2012 Conway, M. Chapter
Chapter in Stefan Malthaner and Peter Waldmann (eds.) Radikale Milieus: Das soziale Umfeld terroristischer Gruppen.
VOX-Pol Discusses Media Strategies of Violent Radical Groups Online
2015 Conway, M. and Brown, I. Video
At the end of January, VOX-Pol's Dr Maura Conway (DCU) and Professor Ian Brown (OII) spoke to Belgian public service broadcaster VRT News on the subject of media strategies used by radical groups online. This a video of the news segment.
VOX-Pol Inaugural Conference Keynote Lecture: Manuela Caiani
2014 Caiani, M. Lecture
Inaugural VOX-Pol Conference:
'Violent Online Political Extremism: Setting a Research Agenda'
Kings College London: August 28-29, 2014
VOX-Pol Inaugural Conference Keynote Lecture: Thomas Hegghammer
2014 Hegghammer, T. Lecture
Inaugural VOX-Pol Conference:
'Violent Online Political Extremism: Setting a Research Agenda'
Kings College London: August 28-29, 2014
VOX-Pol Summer School Public Lecture: Brown Moses
2014 Higgins, E. Lecture
VOX-Pol Summer School: 'Topics in Violence Online Political Extremism'
Dublin: July 3, 2014
VOX-Pol: An Introduction
2015 VOX-Pol Video
VOX-Pol: An Introduction
Warblog Without End: Online Anti-Islamic Discourses As Persuadables
2010 Munksgaard, D.C. MA Thesis
This dissertation is a critical discourse analysis of how anti-Islamic rhetoric in prominent online forums is articulated within the context of popular discourses of multiculturalism and tolerance. According to Melanie McAlister, perceptions of Muslims within the United States are unique in comparison to other minority groups in that they are almost entirely mediated, whether it is the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the terrorist attacks of September 11th, or the various Muhammad cartoon controversies. While much work has been done analyzing how Islam and Muslims are mediated in popular film and television, very little attention has been given to how these perspectives are mediated through the Internet. Using Erving Goffman's theory of performativity and Kristine Fitch's notion of persuadable, I examine how both prominent bloggers and pseudonymous commentators work in a "backstage" context to bring Islamophobic norms and premises within the sphere of acceptable opinions for the "front stage" of mainstream media discourses. In particular, I examine how these discourses have evolved over the past few years on three prominent weblogs: the anti-jihadist Little Green Footballs, the liberal-atheist advocacy blog One Good Move, and the popular news aggregate Fark. In light of increasing evidence that weblogs exert a high level of influence over popular media discourses disproportionate to their readership, these websites offer a glimpse "backstage" into how contemporary American discourses on Islam and Muslims are articulated across a broad array of political perspectives, particularly in relation to norms and premises regarding multiculturalism, tolerance, and freedom of expression. While Islamophobic rhetoric has become firmly embedded within discourses of the American Right, each of the three sites examined shows a steady integration of anti-Islamic perspectives within the American Left. Leftist anti-Islamic discourses are frequently articulated within the context of general anti-religious sentiment, misanthropy, and a belief that the values of "the Islamic world" are inherently incompatible with the liberal, democratic, and multicultural values of "the West." While by no means universal, these perspectives have become sufficiently common, recognizable, and sensible to be granted the status of persuadable within these particular web forums, which in turn helps to move them into the realm of popular American cultural persuadable.
Watching ISIS: How Young Adults Engage with Official English-language ISIS Videos
2018 Cottee S., and Cunliffe, J. Article
Research on jihadist online propaganda (henceforth JOP) tends to focus on the production, content and dissemination of jihadist online messages. Correspondingly, the target of JOP – that is, the audience – has thus far attracted little scholarly attention. This article seeks to redress this neglect by focusing on how audiences respond to jihadist online messaging. It presents the findings of an online pilot survey testing audience responses to clips from English-language ISIS videos. The survey was beset at every stage by ethical, legal and practical restrictions, and we discuss how these compromised our results and what this means for those attempting to do research in this highly sensitive area.
Weaponizing white thymos: flows of rage in the online audiences of the alt-right
2020 Ganesh, B. Article
The alt-right is a growing radical right-wing network that is particularly effective at mobilizing emotion through digital communications. Introducing ‘white thymos’ as a framework to theorize the role of rage, anger, and indignation in alt-right communications, this study argues that emotive communication connects alt-right users and mobilizes white thymos to the benefit of populist radical right politics. By combining linguistic, computational, and interpretive techniques on data collected from Twitter, this study demonstrates that the alt-right weaponizes white thymos in three ways: visual documentation of white victimization, processes of legitimization of racialized pride, and reinforcement of the rectitude of rage and indignation. The weaponization of white thymos is then shown to be central to the culture of the alt-right and its connectivity with populist radical right politics.
Web as Weapon Internet as a Tool for Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism ( Part 2 of 2 )
2014 Hoffman, B. Video
Web as Weapon: Internet as a Tool for Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism (Part 2 of 2) Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing, and Terrorism Risk Assessment. WITNESSES: Dr. Bruce Hoffman, Professor, Georgetown University; Ms. Rita Katz, Director, SITE Institute; Ms. Parry Aftab, Internet Attorney; Mr. Mark Weitzman, Director, Task Force Against Hate, Simon Wiesenthal Center. Video provided by U.S. House of Representatives. Discussion held on 071106. Originally uploaded by House.Resource.Org on 14 November 2011
Web as Weapon Internet as a Tool for Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism (Part 1 of 2)
2014 Hoffman, B. Video
Web as Weapon: Internet as a Tool for Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism (Part 1 of 2) Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing, and Terrorism Risk Assessment. WITNESSES: Dr. Bruce Hoffman, Professor, Georgetown University; Ms. Rita Katz, Director, SITE Institute; Ms. Parry Aftab, Internet Attorney; Mr. Mark Weitzman, Director, Task Force Against Hate, Simon Wiesenthal Center. Video provided by U.S. House of Representatives. Discussion held on 071106. Originally uploaded by House.Resource.Org on 14 November 2011
What are the Responsibilities of Tech Companies in an Age of International Terrorism?
2016 Brimmer, E., Pielemeier, J., Brunner, L. and Walden, A. Video
Cosponsored by the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) and the Greater Washington, DC Chapter of the Internet Society (ISOC-DC). This Policy Forum is convened by Dr. Susan Aaronson (IIEP/GWU) and Dr. Mark MacCarthy (SIIA).

Speakers:

- Professor Esther Brimmer, Professor of Practice of International Affairs, GWU, and former Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations
- Jason Pielemeier, Business and Human Rights Section Lead, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, U.S. Department of State
- Lisl Brunner, Policy and Learning Director, Global Network Initiative
- Alexandria Walden, Public Policy & Gov't Relations Counsel, Google
Moderator: Dr. Mark MacCarthy, Senior Vice President for Public Policy, Software & Information Industry Association
What are the Roles of the Internet In Terrorism? Measuring Online Behaviors of Convicted UK Terrorists
2015 Gill, P., Corner, E., Thornton, A. and Conway, M. VOX-Pol Publication
Using a unique dataset of 227 convicted UK-based terrorists, this report fills a large gap in the existing literature. Using descriptive statistics, we first outline the degree to which various online activities related to radicalisation were present within the sample. The results illustrate the variance in behaviours often attributed to ‘online radicalisation’. Second, we conducted a smallest-space analysis to illustrate two clusters of commonly co-occurring behaviours that delineate behaviours from those directly associated with attack planning. Third, we conduct a series of bivariate and multivariate analyses to question whether those who interact virtually with like-minded individuals or learn online, exhibit markedly different experiences (e.g. radicalisation, event preparation, attack outcomes) than those who do not.
What Do Closed Source Data Tell Us About Lone Actor Terrorist Behavior? A Research Note
2019 Gill, P., Corner, E., McKeeb, A., Hitchen, P. and Betley, P. Article
This article contributes to the growing body of knowledge on loneactor terrorism with the incorporation of closed-source data. The analyses presented investigate the antecedent behaviors of U.K.- based lone-actor terrorists leading up to their planning or conducting a terrorist event. The results suggest that prior to their attack or arrest the vast majority of lone-actor terrorists each demonstrated elements concerning (a) their grievance, (b) an escalation in their intent to act, (c) gaining capability—both psychologically and technically and (d) attack planning. The results also disaggregate our understanding of lone-actor terrorists in two ways. First, we compare the behaviors of the jihadist actors to those of the extreme-right. Second, we visualize Borum’s (2012) continuums of loneness, direction, and motivation. Collectively the results provide insight into the threat assessment and management of potential lone actors