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
Testimony, U.S. House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, Jihadist Use of Social Media: How to Prevent Terrorism and Preserve Innovation
2011 McCants, W. Report
On Tuesday, December 6, 2011 the Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence will hold a hearing entitled "Jihadist Use of Social Media – How to Prevent Terrorism and Preserve Innovation."
The Radical Online: Individual Radicalization Processes and the Role of the Internet
2014 Koehler, D. Journal
This paper examines in detail the role of the Internet in individual radicalization processes of eight German former right-wing extremists. Applying Grounded Theory methodology the qualitative interviews were analyzed in several coding and re-coding phases. The findings are integrated into the existing literature afterwards. Besides well known factors, such as more effective communication, anonymity and better networking opportunities, this study found evidence that the Internet is a major driving factor to establish and foster the development of radical contrast societies (cf. Koehler, 2015) transmitting radical and violent ideologies and translating them into political activism. As a venue for information exchange, ideological development and training, the individual radicalization process was characteristically shaped or even made possible through the Internet. This paper also shows the high value of qualitative research regarding the topic in contrast to usually employed quantitative analysis of webpage content.
Hate Online: A Content Analysis of Extremist Internet Sites
2003 Gerstenfeld, P., Grant, D. and Chiang, C. Journal
Extremists, such as hate groups espousing racial supremacy or separation, have established an online presence. A content analysis of 157 extremist web sites selected through purposive sampling was conducted using two raters per site. The sample represented a variety of extremist groups and included both organized groups and sites maintained by apparently unaffiliated individuals. Among the findings were that the majority of sites contained external links to other extremist sites (including international sites), that roughly half the sites included multimedia content, and that half contained racist symbols. A third of the sites disavowed racism or hatred, yet one third contained material from supremacist literature. A small percentage of sites specifically urged violence. These and other findings suggest that the Internet may be an especially powerful tool for extremists as a means of reaching an international audience, recruiting members, linking diverse extremist groups, and allowing maximum image control.
IRA 2.0: Continuing the Long War—Analyzing the Factors Behind Anti-GFA Violence
2012 Frenett, R. and Smith, M.L.R. Journal
Despite an increasing number of attacks by violent anti-Good Friday Agreement (GFA) Republicans from 2009 there is still relatively little understanding of the nature of these organizations or the likely longevity of their campaign(s). This analysis argues that the current upsurge of violence is likely to continue for the foreseeable future, due to a combination of factors that entrench republican ideology. The fractured nature of anti-GFA groups and the declining stature of the Provisional movement are key factors that energize anti-agreement sentiment. In particular, this study identifies the Internet as one of the most significant emerging drivers in that it has the potential to sustain social networks that create and reinforce a traditional minded Irish Republican constituency implacably committed to using violence in pursuit of its goals.
Stormfront is Like a Second Home to Me: On Virtual Community Formation by Right-Wing Extremists
2008 De Kostera, W. and Houtman, D. Journal
Although the subject of extreme right virtual community formation is often discussed, an online ‘sense of community’ among right-wing extremists has not been systematically analysed. It is argued that to study this phenomenon and to understand its backgrounds and function, the offline and online experiences and actions of those involved need to be taken into account. For this purpose, qualitative data has been collected on the web forum ‘Stormfront’, supplemented by extensive online interviews with eleven of its members. It is demonstrated that those experiencing stigmatization in offline social life regard the forum as a virtual community that functions as an online refuge, whereas those who – because of special circumstances – do not experience offline stigmatization do not display an online sense of community. It is concluded that offline stigmatization underlies virtual community formation by Dutch right-wing extremists. Because this mechanism may have broader significance, additional hypotheses for future research are formulated.
The Electronic Starry Plough: The Enationalism of the Irish Republican Socialist Movement (IRSM)
2001 Dartnell, M. Journal
This paper takes the case of the Irish Republican Socialist Movement (IRSM) as the point of departure to discuss how insurgent political movement use Web communications. From mirror sites in Ireland and North America, IRSM supporters regularly use Web technology to relay the group message to a global audience at http://www.irsm.org/irsm.html. The resulting direct media contact gives the IRSM unprecedented access to global civil society. By referring to the IRSM Web site, the types of messages transmitted, the forms of transmission (text, video, audio, e-mail or other), and target audiences (national, global, political elites, media), this paper outlines some of the issues and challenges posed by Web-based anti-government media. The Internet and the Web do not constitute a threat to state power as some analysts suggest but at the same time they significantly alter political communication. The IRSM is a case of "enationalism", that is, the representation of a place as home to a specific group of people. Unlike traditional nationalism, enationalism is not tied to physical space or territory, but to representation of a network of relations based on a common language, historical experience, religion and/or culture. It is about both memory and future projection of a place as the home for a given group. In this light, new media will likely co-exist with other forms of political communication for some time.
Cybercortical Warfare: Hizbollah’s Internet Strategy
2005 Conway, M. Chapter
The acceleration of the historical tempo and the move from hierarchical to networked conceptions of power is disintegrating the mechanisms of control and political representation at the disposal of the state. The upshot of this is that ‘resistance confronts domination, empowerment reacts against powerlessness, and alternative projects challenge the logic embedded in the new global order’ (Castells 1997, 69). These reactions and mobilisations, often take ‘unusual formats and proceed through unexpected ways’ (Castells 1997, 69). This chapter deals with one such alternative project. It is a preliminary empirical analysis of the adoption by the Lebanese-based terrorist group Hizbollah (Party of God) of a strategy of cybercortical warfare. In his introduction to the Vintage edition of Covering Islam (1997), Edward Said refers to the ‘information wars that have gone on since 1948 around the whole question of the Middle East’ (p. xxi). He is particularly concerned with the way in which Hizbollah ‘who identify themselves and are perceived locally as resistance fighters’ are ‘commonly referred to in the American media as terrorists’ (p. xiii). Hizbollah are one of a number of groups that have utilized the Internet ‘to produce and articulate a conscious and forceful self-image’ (Said: 66) of themselves not as terrorists, but as resistance fighters and statesmen. The major focus of this chapter is the way in which Hizbollah have wielded the Internet as a weapon in their information war. As will be demonstrated, the group’s collection of Web sites is targeted not at Lebanese or Palestinian audiences, but at the Israeli population and global publics. For this reason, the chapter represents a case study of the possibilities of the new technology, discussed and defined by this chapter as ‘cybercortical warfare’.
Mining Communities and Their Relationships in Blogs: A Study of Online Hate Groups
2007 Chau, M. and Xu, J. Article
Blogs, often treated as the equivalence of online personal diaries, have become one of the fastest growing types of Web-based media. Everyone is free to express their opinions and emotions very easily through blogs. In the blogosphere, many communities have emerged, which include hate groups and racists that are trying to share their ideology, express their views, or recruit new group members. It is important to analyse these virtual communities, defined based on membership and subscription linkages, in order to monitor for activities that are potentially harmful to society. While many Web mining and network analysis techniques have been used to analyze the content and structure of the Web sites of hate groups on the Internet, these techniques have not been applied to the study of hate groups in blogs. To address this issue, we have proposed a semi-automated approach in this research. The proposed approach consists of four modules, namely blog spider, information extraction, network analysis, and visualization. We applied this approach to identify and analyze a selected set of 28 anti-Blacks hate groups (820 bloggers) on Xanga, one of the most popular blog hosting sites. Our analysis results revealed some interesting demographical and topological characteristics in these groups, and identified at least two large communities on top of the smaller ones. The study also demonstrated the feasibility in applying the proposed approach in the study of hate groups and other related communities in blogs.
Analysis of PKK/KONGRA-GEL Websites to Identify Points of Vulnerability
2008 Çelebim, E. Article
The PKK/KONGRA-GEL terrorist group makes extensive use of the internet, notably for propaganda. The prominent PKK websites are listed in a dataset which shows the way these sites relate to each other with links. An overview of their content is given, then various software and analysis tools, notably Unicet, are used to reveal different aspects of this network of Websites; Centrality Analyses to show prominence and hierarchical structure, Density and Geodesic Distances Analyses, and Connectivity Analyses.
European and American Extreme Right Groups and the Internet
2013 Caiani, M. and Parenti, L. Book
How do right-wing extremist organisations throughout the world use the Internet as a tool for communication and recruitment? What is its role in identity-building within radical right-wing groups and how do they use the Internet to set their agenda, build contacts, spread their ideology and encourage mobilization? This important contribution to the field of Internet politics adopts a social movement perspective to address and examine these important questions. Conducting a comparative content analysis of more than 500 extreme right organizational web sites from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States, it offers an overview of the Internet communication activities of these groups and systematically maps and analyses the links and structure of the virtual communities of the extreme right. Based on reports from the daily press the book presents a protest event analysis of right wing groups’ mobilisation and action strategies, relating them to their online practices. In doing so it exposes the new challenges and opportunities the Internet presents to the groups themselves and the societies in which they exist.
Becoming Mulan: Female Western Migrants to ISIS
2015 Boyle, C., Bradford, A., Frenett, R. Report
The current flow of foreigners to Syria and Iraq is remarkable not only for its scale, but also for its inclusion of many women. Much has been written about the male fighters who migrate to engage in the conflict there; these fighters are prolific on social media and share details of their day-to-day experiences with supporters and opponents alike. Less, however, is known about the women who travel to join ISIS and support its state-building efforts. The flow of both men and women is a concern for Western governments, who fear that these individuals could pose a threat on return home. The number of Western migrants overall is estimated at 3,000, with as many as 550 of these
being women. This report aims to provide insight into the female migrants, examining the reasons they migrate, the reality of their lives in ISIS-controlled territory, and the potential risk they pose. While there is a large online ecosystem of female ISIS supporters, this study will focus specifically on Western women who are believed to be currently residing in ISIS-controlled territory.
The Dark Net
2015 Bartlett, J. Book
Beyond the familiar online world that most of us inhabit lies a vast network of sites, communities and cultures where freedom is pushed to its limits. A world that is as creative and complex as it is dangerous and disturbing. A world that is much closer than you think. The Dark Net is a revelatory examination of the internet today, and of its most innovative and dangerous.
Radicalisation and Media: Connectivity and Terrorism in the New Media Ecology
2011 Awan, A., Hoskins, A. and O’Loughlin, B. Book
This book examines the circulation and effects of radical discourse by analysing the role of mass media coverage in promoting or hindering radicalisation and acts of political violence.
Understanding Terrorism in the Age of Global Media: A Communication ApproachUnderstanding Terrorism in the Age of Global Media: A Communication Approach
2012 Archetti, C. Book
We cannot truly understand terrorism in the 21st century—let alone counter it effectively—unless we also understand the processes of communication that underpin it. The book challenges existing terrorism research showing that current approaches are inadequate and outdated. It exposes the fact that, although we live in an age of interconnectedness shaped by media technologies, both policy makers and security experts know very little about how to make sense of this reality. Among the widespread myths the book dispels are: the idea that new recruits into the ranks of al Qaeda are 'radicalized' by a 'narrative of grievance'; that the removal of extremist websites should be a priority; that 'we' can 'rewrite' terrorists' propaganda; that being a 'global brand' is a source of strength for al Qaeda. This book will be of interest to researchers and students in terrorism studies, communication and media, politics and security.
Trolling Media: Violent Extremist Groups Recruiting Through Socal Media
2015 Chang, M.D. MA Thesis
With the advent and subsequent growth of several new media technologies, violent extremist groups have incorporated social media into recruiting strategies. How are violent extremist groups using social media for recruiting? This thesis explores several new media technologies—websites, blogs, social media, mobile phones, and online gaming—to determine if violent extremist groups rely on social media for recruiting. By comparing the communication of al Qaeda and ISIS, this thesis concludes that violent extremist groups rely on social media, and they employ a wide range of new media technologies to attract and recruit new members. In some instances, virtual interaction still requires face-to-face communication to adequately recruit someone into a violent extremist group.
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.
Iraqi Insurgent Media: The War of Images and Ideas
2007 Kimmage, D. and Ridolfo, K. Report
Sunni insurgents in Iraq and their supporters and sympathizer worldwide are pursuing a massive and far-reaching media campaign that includes daily press releases, weekly and monthly magazines, video clips, full-length films, and even television channels. Iraqi Insurgent Media: The War of Images and Ideas casts light on this crucial yet understudied factor in the battle to shape perceptions in Iraq and the Arab world. The report surveys the products, producers, and delivery channels of the Sunni insurgency’s media network; examines their message; and gauges their impact.
Online Social Networks and Terrorism 2.0 in Developing Countries
2013 Ishengoma, F.R. Journal
The advancement in technology has brought a new era in terrorism where Online Social Networks (OSNs) have become a major platform of communication with wide range of usage from message channeling to propaganda and recruitment of new followers in terrorist groups. Meanwhile, during the terrorist attacks people use OSNs for information exchange, mobilizing and uniting and raising money for the victims. This paper critically analyses the specific usage of OSNs in the times of terrorisms attacks in developing countries. We crawled and used Twitter’s data during Westgate shopping mall terrorist attack in Nairobi, Kenya. We then analysed the number of tweets, geo-location of tweets, demographics of the users and whether users in developing countries tend to tweet, retweet or reply during the event of a terrorist attack. We define new metrics (reach and impression of the tweet) and present the models for calculating them. The study findings show that, users from developing countries tend to tweet more at the first and critical times of the terrorist occurrence. Moreover, large number of tweets originated from the attacked country (Kenya) with 73% from men and 23% from women where original posts had a most number of tweets followed by replies and retweets.
Jihad Trending: A Comprehensive Analysis of Online Extremism and How to Counter It
2014 Hussain, G. and Saltman, E.M. Report
This report hopes to contribute to developing research in the ever-evolving arena of radicalisation with a particular focus on the role of the Internet. Our aim is to provide a resource for both policy makers and practitioners that offers an in-depth insight into the means by which extremists use online tools to propagandise and recruit. While previous research has focussed on specific aspects of this phenomenon, this report aims to provide a comprehensive analysis encompassing both qualitative and quantitative methods. It is also unique in that it offers a detailed and practical guide on how to turn the tide against extremists online and reclaim the Internet. Our research would not have been possible without the cooperation and assistance of colleagues, experts, mentors and focus group participants. In particular, we would like to thank our research assistants Ariana Skipp and Aimee Gentry who diligently collected data transcribed interviews and proofread drafts. We would also like to thank Jonathan Russell, Usama Hasan, Faisal Ghazi, Verity Harding, Florian Maganza and Benoit Tabaka for their support, assistance and guidance.
Gender and Power in Online Communication
2001 Herring, S.C. Chapter
New communication technologies are often invested with users' hopes for change in the social order. Thus the Internet is said to be inherently democratic, levelling traditional distinctions of social status, and creating opportunities for less powerful individuals and groups to participate on a par with members of more powerful groups. Specifically, the Internet has been claimed to lead to greater gender equality, with women, as the socially, politically, and economically less powerful gender, especially likely to reap its benefits.