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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Full Listing

TitleYearAuthorTypeLinks
Why the Internet is Not Increasing Terrorism
2014Benson, D.C.Journal
Policymakers and scholars fear that the Internet has increased the ability of transnational terrorists, like al Qaeda, to attack targets in the West, even in the face of increased policing and military efforts. Although access to the Internet has increased across the globe, there has been no corresponding increase in completed transnational terrorist attacks. This analysis examines the causal logics—which have led to the conventional wisdom—and demonstrates both theoretically and empirically that the Internet is not a force multiplier for transnational terrorist organizations. Far from being at a disadvantage on the Internet, state security organs actually gain at least as much utility from the Internet as terrorist groups do, meaning that at worst the Internet leaves the state in the same position vis-a`-vis terrorist campaigns as it was prior to the Internet.
Voices of the ‘Caucasus Emirate’: Mapping and Analyzing North Caucasus Insurgency Websites
2014Campana, 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.
Ethical Dilemmas in Qualitative Research with Youth On/Offline
2014Livingstone, S and Locatelli, E.Article
Research on the digital and online environment poses several ethical questions that are new or, at least, newly pressing, especially in relation to youth. Established ethical practices require that research have integrity, quality, transparency, and impartiality. They also stipulate that risks to the researcher, institution, data, and participants should be anticipated and addressed. But difficulties arise when applying these to an environment in which the online and offline intersect in shifting ways. This paper discusses some real-life “digital dilemmas” to identify the emerging consensus among researchers. We note the 2012 guidelines by the Association of Internet Researchers, which advocates for ethical pluralism, for minimizing harm, and for the responsibility of the researcher where codes are insufficient.
As a point of contrast, we evaluate Markham’s (2012) radical argument for data fabrication
as and ethical practice. In reflecting on how researchers of the digital media practices of youth resolve their dilemmas in practice, we take up Markham’s challenge of identifying evolving practice, including researchers’ workarounds, but we eschew her solution of fabrication. Instead, we support the emerging consensus that while rich data are increasingly available for collection, they should not always be fully used or even retained in order to protect human subjects in a digital world in which future possible uses of data exceed the control of the researcher who collected them.
Report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, Mutuma Ruteere
2014United Nations Human Rights CouncilPolicy
The unprecedented, rapid development of new communication and information technologies, such as the Internet and social media, has enabled wider dissemination of racist and xenophobic content that incites racial hatred and violence. In response, States, international and regional organizations, civil society and the private sector have undertaken a variety of legal and policy initiatives. In the present report, the Special Rapporteur examines the context, key trends and the manifestations of racism on the Internet and social media, and provides an overview of the legal and policy frameworks and the measures taken at international, regional and national levels, as well as some of the regulatory norms adopted by Internet and social network providers. He presents examples of measures taken to respond to the use of the Internet and social media to propagate racism, hatred, xenophobia and related intolerance, while highlighting the overall positive contribution of the Internet and social media as an effective tool for combating racism, discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.
Detecting Linguistic Markers for Radical Violence in Social Media
2014Cohen, K., Johansson, F., Kaati, L. and Clausen Mork, J.Journal
Lone-wolf terrorism is a threat to the security of modern society, as was tragically shown in Norway on July 22, 2011, when Anders Behring Breivik carried out two terrorist attacks that resulted in a total of 77 deaths. Since lone wolves are acting on their own, information about them cannot be collected using traditional police methods such as infiltration or wiretapping. One way to attempt to discover them before it is too late is to search for various ‘‘weak signals’’ on the Internet, such as digital traces left in extremist web forums. With the right tools and techniques, such traces can be collected and analyzed. In this work, we focus on tools and techniques that can be used to detect weak signals in the form of linguistic markers for potential lone wolf terrorism.
#Greenbirds: Measuring Importance and Influence in Syrian Foreign Fighter Networks
2014Carter, J.A., Maher, S. and Neumann, P.R.Report
This is the first in a series of papers that draws on information from this database. It examines the question of how foreign fighters in Syria receive information about the conflict and who inspires them.
The Devil's Long Tail: Religious and Other Radicals in the Internet Marketplace
2014Stevens, D. and O’Hara, K.Book
This book is concerned with the links or relationships between religious radicalism, violent extremism and the Internet.
Radicalisation In The Digital Era: The Use of the Internet in 15 Cases of Terrorism and Extremism
2014von Behr, I., Reding, A., Edwards, C. and Gribbon, L.Report
This study explores how the internet is used by individuals in the process of their radicalisation. It is based on primary data drawn from a variety of sources: evidence presented at trial, computer registries of convicted terrorists, interviews with convicted terrorists and extremists, as well as police senior investigative officers responsible for terrorist investigations.
Countering the Appeal of Extremism Online
2014Briggs, R. and Feve, S.Policy
This Policy Briefing was commissioned by the Danish government and addresses various methods for tackling online extremism. It draws on discussions which took place at a Policy Planners Network (PPN) meeting held with a range of relevant stakeholders that took place in Copenhagen in June 2013.
Sub-Saharan African Terrorist Groups’ Use of the Internet
2014Bertram, S. and Ellison, K.Journal
This article presents the results of a study which measured the web presence of terrorist groups active in Sub Saharan Africa. It also explores the relationship between web technology availability and adoption by terrorist groups and looks at how differentiating between web publishing technologies used by terrorist groups can further develop the study of terrorist cultures and communities online.
Differential Online Exposure to Extremist Content and Political Violence: Testing the Relative Strength of Social Learning and Competing Perspectives
2014Pauwels, L. and Schils, N.Journal
The present study applies Social Learning (Differential Association) Theory to the explanation of political violence, focusing on exposure to extremist content through
new social media (NSM) and controlling for key variables derived from rival theories. Data are gathered using (a) a paper-and-pencil study among high school students, and (b) a web survey targeting youths between 16 and 24 years old. A total of 6020 respondents form the dataset. Binary logistic regression is used to analyze
the data. Results show that even when controlling for background variables, strain variables, personality characteristics, moral values, and peer influences, the
statistical association between measures of extremism through NSM (ENSM) and self-reported political violence remains significant and fairly constant. The most persistent effects are found for those measures where individuals actively seek out extremist content on the Internet, as opposed to passive and accidental encounters
using NSM. Furthermore, offline differential associations with racist and delinquent peers are also strongly and directly related to self-reported political violence, as are
some mechanisms from rival perspectives. This indicates that political violence can only partially be explained by social learning and suggests that the impact
of ENSM is mediated by real-world associations and that the offline world has to be taken into account.
The Dark Side of Online Activism: Swedish Right-Wing Extremist Video Activism on YouTube
2014Ekman, M.Journal
In recent years, an emerging body of work, centred on specific communicative forms used in facilitating collective and connective action, have contributed to greater understanding of how digital communication relates to social mobilisation. Plenty of these studies highlight the progressive potentiality of digital communication. However, undemocratic actors also utilise the rapid advancement in digital technology. This article explores the online video activism of extreme right-wing groups in Sweden. It analyses more than 200 clips on YouTube, produced by five right-wing extremist organisations. The study shows that the extreme right deploy video activism as a strategy of visibility to mobilise and strengthen activists. Moreover, the groups attempt to alter the perception of (historically-rooted) socio-political identi- ties of the extreme right. Furthermore, YouTube becomes a political arena in which action repertoires and street politics are adapted to the specific characteristics of online video activism. Finally, video activism could be understood as an aestheticisation of politics.
Big Data Ethics
2014Richards, N.M. and King, J.H.Journal
We are on the cusp of a “Big Data” Revolution, in which increasingly large datasets are mined for important predictions and often surprising insights. The predictions and decisions this revolution will enable will transform our society in ways comparable to the Industrial Revolution. We are now at a critical moment; big data uses today will be sticky and will settle both default norms and public notions of what is “no big deal” regarding big data predictions for years to come.
This paper argues that big data, broadly defined, is producing increased powers of institutional awareness and power that require the development of a Big Data Ethics. We are building a new digital society, and the values we build or fail to build into our new digital structures will define us. Critically, if we fail to balance the human values that we care about, like privacy, confidentiality, transparency, identity and free choice with the compelling uses of big data, our Big Data Society risks abandoning these values for the sake of innovation and expediency.
Home-Grown Jihadism in Italy: Birth, Development and Radicalization Dynamics
2014Vidino, L.Book
This study aims only at analysing the dynamics of jihadist radicalisation in Italy. It is not meant to be a study of Islam or of the Italian Muslim community. Rather, it describes a phenomenon that, in Italy as in any other Western country, affects a statistically insignificant percentage of the Muslim population. Throughout Europe, jihadism is a fringe phenomenon, much debated but affecting only a few isolated individuals within largely peaceful Muslim communities.
Pathways to Violent Extremism in the Digital Era
2013Edwards, C. and Gribbon, L.Journal
The Internet is often singled out as the key means through which extremists and terrorists are radicalised. Yet, argue Charlie Edwards and Luke Gribbon, research thus far has fallen short of unearthing the actual mechanisms through which this radicalisation takes place. Using examples from a wider study, they explore different ways in which individuals have used the Internet in their processes of radicalisation and point out that policy-makers and researchers need to focus their efforts on understanding not merely the content that is available online, but the ways in which this content is used in the process of radicalisation.
Now on Twitter, Facebook: Jihadi Media Foundation Fursan Al-Balagh
2013Al-Hadj, M.Report
Media foundations connected to jihadi groups and jihad-supporting organizations, which once released their productions – videos, statements, and more – over jihadi forums, have turned to social media websites, mainly Facebook and Twitter, because of these forums' inability to provide reliable means for communication, interaction, and publication due to constant and often lengthy disruption of their online presence. This report discusses official and unofficial jihadi media foundations' presence on Facebook and Twitter, and identifies the foundations' accounts and provide background information regarding their affiliation and activities.
Defending an Open, Global, Secure and Resilient Internet
2013Council on Foreign Relations, USPolicy
A balkanized Internet beset by hostile cyber-related activities raises a host of questions and problems for the U.S. government, American corporations, and American citizens. The Council on Foreign Relations launched this Task Force to define the scope of this rapidly developing issue and to help shape the norms, rules, and laws that should govern the Internet. This is the report published by the Task Force.
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.