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.

Featured

Full Listing

TitleYearAuthorTypeLinks
Tweeting for the Caliphate: Twitter as the New Frontier for Jihadist Propaganda
2013Prucha, N. and Fisher, A.Journal
This article discusses the emergence of jihadist social media strategies, explains how the Syrian jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra (JN) has used Twitter to disseminate content, and analyzes content shared by JN. Using an interdisciplinary approach to the analysis of jihadist propaganda, this article demonstrates how jihadist groups are using Twitter to disseminate links to video content shot on the battlefield in Syria and posted for mass consumption on YouTube.
Online Radicalization Myths and Realities
2013New American FoundationVideo
90 minute panel discussion on the myths and realities of online radicalisation chaired by the New America Foundation in collaboration with the Muslim Public Affairs Council. Originally published by the New America Foundation on 29 May 2013
Uncovering the Wider Structure of Extreme Right Communities Spanning Popular Online Networks
2013O’Callaghan, D., Greene, D., Conway, M., Carthy, J. and Cunningham, P.Article
Recent years have seen increased interest in the online presence of extreme right groups. Although originally composed of dedicated websites, the online extreme right milieu now spans multiple networks, including popular social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Ideally therefore, any contemporary analysis of online extreme right activity requires the consideration of multiple data sources, rather than being restricted to a single platform. We investigate the potential for Twitter to act as one possible gateway to communities within the wider online network of the extreme right, given its facility for the dissemination of content. A strategy for representing heterogeneous network data with a single homogeneous network for the purpose of community detection is presented, where these inherently dynamic communities are tracked over time. We use this strategy to discover and analyse persistent English and German language extreme right communities.
Tom Kean Discusses Online Radicalization
2013Kean, T.Video
In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings Bipartisan Policy Center Homeland Security Project co-chair and former Governor Tom Kean, a 9/11 Commission co-chair, talks to BBC World News about the dangers of online radicalisation. Originally published by the BBC on 26 April 2013
Who Matters Online: Measuring influence, evaluating content and countering violent extremism in online social networks
2013Berger, J.M. and Strathearn, B.Report
It is relatively easy to identify tens of thousands of social media users who have an interest in violent ideologies, but very difficult to figure out which users are worth watching. For students of extremist movements and those working to counter violent extremism online, deciphering the signal amid the noise can prove incredibly daunting. This paper sets out a first step in solving that problem. The authors have devised a scoring system to find out which social media accounts within a specific extremist circle were most influential and most prone to be influenced (a tendency we called exposure).
Current Status Of Military And Technology-Related Subsections On Top Jihadi Forums
2013Khayat, M.Report
Jihadis have long shared military-related information and expertise on top jihadi forums. Recently, much of that information has been circulated on the various social media outlets, as well. The shared information varies, from original content to translations, summaries, and recommended reading of non-Arabic material. Contrary to the common notion that jihadis are suspicious of, and avoiding circulating, any material originating from "enemy" sources, jihadis visiting military and technology sections on top jihadi forums in fact thrive on a broad base of information, especially information originating with "enemy" sources. This report provides an overview of military and technology-related subsections on the main jihadi forums.
Turning Away From the Truth: Critique Of Hamami
2013Al-Muhajir, A.H.Lecture
Demystifying the Abu Mansur Saga
‘Bomb-Making for Beginners’: Inside al Al-Qaeda E-Learning Course
2013Stenersen, A.Journal
This study explores how terrorists utilise the Internet to learn bomb-making skills. Unlike previous studies, it does not focus on assessing the quality of online bomb recipes. Rather, it discusses the efforts being made by on-line jihadists to help others learn by providing so-called “e-learning courses.” As of today, such courses have few active participants yet they tend to attract large interest – indicating that there is a demand among Al-Qaeda’s online sympathisers for developing this concept further.
Neo-Nazis Sympathizers on the Forums of the Romanian Online Publications
2013Macovei, E.I.Journal
The research aims to highlight how the forums of the Romanian online publications may often become spaces for right-wing extremist propaganda. The case study includes about 1.000 comments of the readers, expressed on the articles about a protest of several intellectuals against a TV program of the Romanian public Television (TVR), where Corneliu Zelea Codreanu, the founder of the Iron Guard, a Nazi organization created in 1927, was presented as a romantic hero. The results of the content analysis of comments revealed the stigmatizing themes, the stereotypes and the extremist ideas identified on the forums of these articles. In addition, the comparison between the electronic platforms of the publications showed the importance of their features and of the characteristics of audiences regarding the content of the comments.
Radicalization: The Role of the Internet
2013von Behr, I.Report
This paper provides a broad summary of our current understanding of the role of the Internet in relation to extremist and terrorist networks. It covers the role of the Internet in radicalisation; the use of new technologies by extremists looking to organize and/or use violence, whether in a group or alone (including how this is changing the presence of women online); the ways in which the internet has been used as an operation tool by terrorists (to recruit, train, coordinate and communicate); and the range of policy responses, including the emerging priority area of counter-narratives to take on the dominant messages of extremists and challenge their legitimacy.
Jihadism: Online Discourses and Representations
2013Prucha, N.Chapter
[Chapter in, "New Approaches to the Analysis of Jihadism: On and Offline", Rüdiger Lohlker (ed.)] Jihadism has been an important issue of public discussions since 9/11. Internet media have been used by Jihadis as means of communication, propaganda, recruitment, and even training purposes. In this volume, the processes of interaction on Jihadi internet sites are analysed. Particular attention lays on the mechanisms of spread of propaganda via the internet by diverse technical means. The process of transformation of Islamic knowledge into Jihadi knowledge, the rhetorics of videos, the development of South Asian Jihadi organisations and some conceptual issues are discussed.
In Defense of Honor: Women and Terrorist Recruitment on the Internet
2013Bloom, M.M.Journal
Until today there have been no women in the core leadership of Al Qaeda (Al Qaeda al Sulba). While the organization is frequently described as patriarchal and exclusive of women, women are among its most fervent supporters. A significant recent development in women’s participation in violent extremism has been the dissemination of radical ideologies online as recruiters and propagandists. In particular, online female recruiters shame men to enlist in jihad by demanding that they protect their sisters in Islam from sexual trespass, particularly by male non-believers. In addition to propagandists, a new generation of jihadi leaders is looking to women to ensure the survival of the organization by devising new religious justifications that would allow women to participate in violent jihadist activities. An ideological schism over women’s participation in jihad reflects a generational shift within the movement as well as differences between the core of Al Qaeda and its regional affiliates globally.
Pro-Violence and Anti-Democratic Messages on the Internet
2013Swedish Media CouncilReport
Foreword-The standard media image of violent extremism may seem to be far from the ordinary work of the Swedish Media Council. While extremism is often described in dramatic terms of terrorism, attacks and riots, the Council’s work concerns more everyday things, such as age limits for cinema films and media awareness teaching in pre-school. But no person is born to be a perpetrator of violence for political or religious purposes. Being recruited to and radicalised within the framework of pro-violence
and anti-democratic extremist groups is a question of adopting, more or less uncritically, an image of the world where hate is the driving force and violence the legitimate means. In today’s information society, the Internet has become, to an ever increasing extent, the tool for spreading anti-democratic messages for the purpose of recruiting new members. This fact places great demands on people young and old to retain a critical view of information and sometime sharply angled messages that we come across in both traditional and digital media. In October 2011, the Government mandated the Swedish Media Council to describe the presence of anti-democratic messages on the Internet and in social media. The focus is on messages aimed at young persons, and that encourage violence for political or ideological reasons. The aim is to create broader knowledge about extremist Internet milieu, their content, and how recruitment strategies
are formulated and communicated. The overall purpose is to strengthen young persons in preparation for encounters with such messages.
The State of Global Jihad Online: A Qualitative, Quantitative, and Cross-Lingual Analysis
2013Zelin, A.Y.Report
It is only a matter of time before terrorists begin routinely using Twitter, Instagram, and other services in ongoing operations. We have already seen this in a limited manner from al-Shabaab, which tweets its #JihadDispatches on recent battles. But those delivery mechanisms are unlikely to replace the forums as the main environment for conversation and information distribution among jihadis. Twitter and the like provide a more public platform than a password-protected forum, but one critical utility of forums for jihadis is the ability to have relatively private conversations.
The Dynamics of the Creation, Evolution, and Disappearance of Terrorist Internet Forums
2013Torres-Soriano, M.R.Journal
An examination of the organisational nature of the threat posed by jihadi terrorism, supplying quantitative and qualitative data on the dynamics behind the creation, evolution, and disappearance of the main jihadi Internet forums during the period 2008–2012. An analysis of the origins and functions of the forums, their links with terrorist organizations, their internal structures, and the processes accounting for their stability in cyberspace shows that far from representing a horizontal structure where the main actors are a network of followers, the terrorist presence on the Internet is in fact a hierarchical organization in which intervention by formal terrorist organizations plays a crucial role.
Developing an Explanatory Model for the Process of Online Radicalisation and Terrorism
2013Torok, R.Journal
While the use of the internet and social media as a tool for extremists and terrorists has been well documented, understanding the mechanisms at work has been much more elusive. This paper begins with a grounded theory approach guided by a new theoretical approach to power that utilises both terrorism cases and extremist social media groups to develop an explanatory model of radicalisation. Preliminary hypotheses are developed, explored and refined in order to develop a comprehensive model which is then presented. This model utilises and applies concepts from social theorist Michel Foucault, including the use of discourse and networked power relations in order to normalise and modify thoughts and behaviors. The internet is conceptualised as a type of institution in which this framework of power operates and seeks to recruit and radicalise. Overall, findings suggest that the explanatory model presented is a well suited, yet still incomplete in explaining the process of online radicalisation.
Lights, Camera, Jihad: Al-Shabaab’s Western Media Strategy
2012Meleagrou-Hitchens, A., Maher, S. and Sheehan, J.Report
While the threat that al-Shabaab poses to the West can easily be overstated, its outreach to Muslims living in Europe and the United States has been successful relative to other al-Qaeda-linked groups and warrants exploration. The organisation has recruited dozens of foreign fighters from the West (see Appendix). It also holds the dubious distinction of being the first jihadist organisation to recruit an American citizen to commit an act of suicide terrorism. Its recruitment strategy is therefore worthy of examination as a case study of how jihadist groups formulate strategies to lure Western Muslims. Through a combination of primary source analysis, background interviews in East Africa and an in-depth quantitative analysis of the group’s Twitter output, this paper aims to go beyond the simple statement of this problem by explaining how al-Shabaab markets itself to Muslims beyond its borders and what methods it employs. It also explores how the group is using social media to engage its followers in ways that other actors in the global jihad movement have not yet mastered.
Irresponsible Radicalisation: Diasporas, Globalisation and Long-Distance Nationalism in the Digital Age
2012Conversi, D.Journal
The growing scholarship on ethnic diasporas has prompted various off-shoots. Two significant directions are the relationship of diasporas with globalisation and their role in the expansion and radicalisation of ethnic conflict. The corporate enthusiasm of the 1990s for globalisation has been followed by sombre reflections on its destructive impact upon a vast array of areas, including inter-ethnic relations worldwide. This article explores one crucial aspect of this wave of disruption*the rapid expansion of radical forms of long-distance nationalism, often leading to a stress on maximalist goals and an abdication of responsibility. It conceptually distinguishes between stateless diasporas and diasporas that conceive themselves as tied to, and represented by, an existing ‘nationstate’. Examples include ethnic lobbies from the former Yugoslavia, greater Han xenophobia among overseas Chinese, and Hindutva technocratic chauvinism among Hindu-Americans. Finally, the article identifies the onset of ‘online mobbing’ or ‘cyber bullying’ as a new and ominous trend in Internet radicalism.
Tweeting to Win: Al-Shabaab’s Strategic Use of Microblogging
2012Perlman, L.Article
Today, we live in a world of networked global communities, drawn together by the recent technological boom. This unprecedented degree of interconnectivity has affected every size and kind of social organization, from the American government to a camera-armed protester on the streets. Technology has particularly changed the fabric of the Islamic world, a community torn between rejecting innovation and embracing modernity. The mass social movements that rocked the Middle East during the Arab Spring only highlight how important connective devices have become for the strategic calculi of Islamic social movements. Islamic groups now use Internet platforms like Facebook and YouTube to reach a greater audience, challenge opponents, and spread their ideologies.
Terrorism and the Electric Power Delivery System
2012National Academy of SciencesReport
The National Academy of Engineering called the grid the world’s largest integrated machine and a central part of the greatest engineering achievement of the 20th century—electrification of modern society. Reliable electricity service is essential to health, welfare, national security, communication, and commerce. Because of its scale, geographic reach, and complexity, however, the grid also poses many security challenges in maintaining reliable operation. Furthermore, more than 90 percent of the U.S. power grid is privately owned and regulated by the states, making it challenging for the federal government to address potential vulnerabilities to its operation, and perhaps especially its vulnerability to terrorist attack. This report examines those vulnerabilities.