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 Web is a Terrorist’s Command-and-Control Network of Choice
2014 Hannigan, R. Article
People do not want social media platforms to facilitate murder, writes Robert Hannigan
Hizb’allah’s Communication Strategy: Making Friends and Intimidating Enemies
2009 Friberg Lyme, R. Report
Managing external communication has proven an increasingly significant concern to Lebanese Hizb’allah. The nature of how Hizb’allah conducts its external communication is the subject of the present report. It is argued that the organisation relies on a sophisticated strategy that enables it to address a variety of target groups efficiently with differentiated aspects of its particular ideologically informed message, using the particular media platform best suited for this purpose. In doing so, the communication serves two main objectives: First, to disseminate aspects of the organisation’s religiously informed world-view, ideology, values, motives and moral codes; and secondly, to conduct psychological warfare against its enemies. The report falls into three parts. First, the versatility and comprehensiveness of the external and internal media used by Hizb’allah are outlined. The versatility others Hizb’allah an opportunity to convey its message flexibly to audiences on a local, national, regional and international basis, while simultaneously being able to diferentiate its message. In the second part, attention is turned to the content of Hizb’allah’s communication, all of which is permeated by a clear ideological agenda. Two ideological tenets serve as a minimal ideological structure on which additional ideological layers are added, depending on who is being addressed. e two primary tenets are an antagonistic world-view and the primacy of resistance, epitomizing armed resistance. Thirdly, it is shown how Hizb’allah employs differences in foci, rhetoric and media organisation to convey different layers of its ideological package depending on which group is at the receiving end of the special media being utilised.
EU Ministers of the Interior and/or Justice, Joint Statement
2015 EU Ministers of the Interior and/or Justice Policy
A joint statement issued following a meeting of the ministers of the interior in Paris regarding the Charlie Hebdo attacks.
Terrorist Web Sites: Their Contents, Functioning, and Effectiveness
2005 Conway, M. Chapter
This extract is taken from the author's original manuscript and has not been edited. The definitive version of this piece may be found in New Media and the New Middle East by Philip Seib which can be purchased from www.palgrave.com
Response on Paris Attacks - with Charlie Winter
2015 Winter, C. Video
17 November: In the wake of November's deadly attacks in Paris, Charlie Winter (Georgia State University) gives a preview of a forthcoming Legatum Institute report, of which he is co-author, that looks at the role of the internet in transforming disinformation and propaganda from groups such as ISIS. More information: http://www.li.com/events/propaganda-a...
The Power of Online Radicalization with Peter Neumann, part 2
2014 Neumann, P. Video
An interview with Peter Neumann of VOX-Pol partner ICSR by David H. Schanzer, Associate Professor of the Practice for Public Policy and Director, Triangle Center of Terrorism and Homeland Security, focusing on the power of online radicalisation. Originally uploaded by D Schanzer on 31 January 2014
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.
Is the Internet an Incubator for Radicalisation
2015 McGinn, I. and Joinson, A. Article
This blog post explores the reasons why some online ideological groups take action while others do not and focuses on to what extent the online communications of ideological groups contribute to direct collective action.

In order to address this question, we examined a number of online groups using a variety of criteria, including the way they express their group identity online, the narratives they use to imbue their ideologies with legitimacy, and the goals or actions they advocate. We compared these criteria to the actions that the groups have taken, and goals they accomplished.

Our research also explores communication processes and the use of persuasive narratives in an online setting through a number of case studies. These observations provide insight into the decision-making of groups in an online setting and the ways that narrative and discourse are used to justify taking certain actions.

We discuss here findings from two of these case studies, on the American Resistance Movement (ARM), an online community related to the American Patriot movement and the online hacktivist group Anonymous.

We will set out how the concepts of ideology and identity impact on each case, how these relate to the types of actions advocated and taken, and, briefly, the differing effect of anonymity.
Jihadismus und Internet: Eine deutsche Perspektive
2012 Steinberg, G. Article
Deutsche Internetaktivisten sind seit 2005 ein integraler Teil der internationalen jihadistischen Szene geworden, die sich seitdem in einem Prozess stetigen Wandels befindet. Noch nie war es so einfach wie heute, über das Netz und netzbasierte neue soziale Medien auf alle Arten jihadistischer Propaganda zuzugreifen. Die Autoren dieser Sammelstudie befassen sich in erster Linie mit der Situation in der Diaspora – vor allem jener in Deutschland – und suchen das Verhältnis zwischen jihadistischer Aktivität in der virtuellen und in der physischen Realität zu beleuchten und zu klären. Ihre wichtigste Schlussfolgerung lautet: Virtuelle und physische Realität sind auch in der jihadistischen Bewegung eng miteinander verbunden. Internetpropaganda ist gerade dort außerordentlich wirksam, wo sie von aktiven jihadistischen Gruppierungen betrieben wird. Gelingt es, wichtige Aktivisten und Knotenpunkte ihrer Webtätigkeit auszuschalten, können ihre Gegner die Öffentlichkeitsarbeit der Terroristen stark beeinträchtigen. Darüber hinaus lebt das jihadistische Internet vom Vertrauen der Aktivisten untereinander. Gelingt es den Sicherheitsbehörden, durch Infiltration der Webpräsenzen Misstrauen zu säen, lässt die Attraktivität des jihadistischen Netzes schnell nach.
Cyberspace: A Venue for Terrorism
2015 Bieda, D. and Halawi, L. Journal
This paper discusses how cyberspace has become a venue for terrorists groups for recruiting and proliferating propaganda and terrorism. Moreover, this study explores how the low cost Internet infrastructure and social media sites (such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube) have contributed to their networking and operations due to the convenience, in terms of availability, accessibility, message redundancy, ease of use, and the inability to censor content. Concepts such as cyber-weapons, cyber-attacks, cyber-war, and cyber-terrorism are presented and explored to assess how terrorist groups are exploiting cyberspace.
The Case of Roshonara Choudhry: Implications for Theory on Online Radicalization, ISIS Women, and the Gendered Jihad
2015 Pearson, E. Journal
As dozens of British women and girls travel to join Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, there are increasing concerns over female radicalization online. These fears are heightened by the case of Roshonara Choudhry, the first and only British woman convicted of a violent Islamist attack. The university student in 2010 stabbed her Member of Parliament, after watching YouTube videos of the radical cleric Anwar Al Awlaki. Current radicalization theories portray Choudhry as a “pure lone wolf,” a victim of Internet indoctrination, without agency. This article explores how gender factors in her radicalization, to present an alternative to existing theoretical explanations. An engagement with gender reveals its role in Choudhry's radicalization, first, in precluding her from a real-world engagement with Islamism on her terms, pushing her to the Internet; then in increasing her susceptibility to online extremist messages; finally, in fomenting an eventually intolerable dissonance between her online and multiple “real” gendered identities, resulting in violence. The article emphasizes the transgressive nature of this act of female violence in Salafi-Jihadi ideology; also, the importance of this gendered ideology as the foundation of ISIS recruitment online. It emphasizes the importance of understanding the operation of gender in the Jihad's production of violence, and roles for men and women alike.
An Introduction by the Editors
2015 Taylor, M., Horgan, J. and Sageman, M. Journal
An introductory note of the Journal 'Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflicts'
Terrorism Counterterrorism And The Internet
2015 Mueller, M. and Stewart, M.G. Journal
This article assesses the cases that have come to light since 9/11 of Islamist extremist terrorism, whether based in the United States or abroad, in which the United States itself has been, or apparently has been, targeted. Information from them is used to evaluate how the Internet (including various forms of electronic communication) has affected several aspects of the terrorism enterprise in the United States: radicalization, communication, organization, and the gathering of information. In general, it is found that the Internet has not been particularly important. Although it has been facilitating in some respects, it has scarcely ever been necessary. In some respects, the Internet more fully aids efforts to police terrorism – although this is mainly due to the incompetence and amateurishness of would-be terrorists. In other respects, however, the Internet, and the big data compilations it makes possible, greatly increase the costs and complications of the counterterrorism quest.
Fractured Narratives And Popup Diaspora
2015 Williams, R. Journal
The problem of terrorism is both an immediate threat and a long-term issue of safety
and social cohesion, locally and globally. An immediate threat requires relatively
straightforward interventions. Our public debates seem to be focusing too much on “fire-
fighting” crisis management, and congratulating ourselves on instant emotional displays
of solidarity, without paying enough attention to the substantial challenges of developing
a broader social consensus, and a culture of mutual respect. More specifically, we need to
find new ways to understand how local and global issues intersect, and why the global
hegemony of one or two superpowers no longer seems to deliver stability and security
(even for themselves). This is particularly true in a world where national borders have
less and less relevance for the homogeneity of populations, cultures or values, and where
whole communities, for instance, continue practices with impunity which are completely
unacceptable to others – as well as being illegal, e.g. female genital mutilation. This
paper explores some key theoretical issues which might help us to understand some of the
underlying longer-term issues: the articulation of identity, culture, and power, and impact
of micro-practices on global cohesion and security. The new globally connected social
media have a central role to play in this analysis.
A Critical Analysis of the Role of the Internet in the Preparation and Planning of Acts of Terrorism
2015 Holbrook, D. Journal
ABSTRACT- The purpose of this paper is to offer a critical assessment of the way in which the internet and online material features as part of the process individuals embark on to plan acts of terrorism. The paper begins by evaluating concepts used to describe the role of the internet in the context of terrorism and political violence before analysing a single case study in detail in order to explore particular nuances that emerge which shed light on the relationship between perpetrator on the one hand and online content and behaviour on the other. The case study, in turn, is developed into a conceptual appraisal of terrorist use of the internet. The paper concludes by exploring the important distinction between the “theoretical” application of online learning as set out in terrorist propaganda and the hurdles that individuals face in practice.
Criminogenic Qualities Of The Internet
2015 Taylor, M. Journal
ABSTRACT- This paper initially identifies a number of critical distinctions that might help our understanding of the relationship between Internet use and terrorism. It then develops the notion of complex global microstructures as a useful conceptual aid to
understanding how people interact with the Internet in general, and to terrorism in
particular. Parallels are identified between various inappropriate, risky and dangerous
uses of the Internet which are argued to point to a degree of commonality of effect. The
paper concludes by suggesting that some forms of user interaction with the Internet
suggest the Internet may have criminogenic qualities.
A Day in the 'Swamp': Understanding Discourse In The Online Counter-Jihad Nebula
2015 Lee, B. Journal
The counter-jihad scene can be understood variously as a collection of parties, pundits, and movements all linked by a common belief that the West is being subjected to takeover by Muslims. In this article, I seek to improve academic understanding of this collection of movements, parties, and ideas by analyzing the discourse presented by a collection of online advocates whom I describe as the counter-jihad nebula. The findings suggest a need to at least partially re-evaluate the role of the nebula within the wider counter-jihad scene as well as the relationship between the wider counter-jihad scene and mainstream political discourse as expressed through various media outlets.
Public Lecture by VOX-Pol Research Fellow Nico Prucha: Understanding the 'Islamic State' Narratives
2015 Prucha, N. Lecture
Dr Prucha discusses how to understand 'Islamic State' narratives by analysing their media output. The lecture was organised by VOX-Pol partner institute, International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) and held at King’s College London on 6 July 2015. It focuses on the symbiotic relationships between ideology, media content and strategic action, and on how different messages are targeted at different audiences, was broadcast live on Periscope to wide enthusiasm.
Social Networks, Terrorism and Counter-terrorism: Radical and Connected
2015 Bouchard, M. Book
This book examines two key themes in terrorism studies, the radicalisation process and counter-terrorism policies, through the lens of social networks.
It aims to show that networks should be at the forefront not only when analysing terrorists, but also when assessing the responses to their actions. The volume makes a unique contribution by addressing two relatively new themes for terrorism studies. First it puts social relations and cooperation issues at the forefront – an approach often identified as crucial to future breakthroughs in the field. Second, many contributions tackle the role of the Internet in the process of radicalisation and in recruitment more generally, a highly debated topic in the field today. In addition, the book provides a valuable mix of review essays, critical essays, and original empirical studies. This balanced approach is also found in the topics covered by the authors, as well as their academic disciplines, which include sociology, computer science, geography, history, engineering, and criminology as well as political science. Many of the true advances in terrorism studies depend on the successful collaboration of multi-disciplinary teams, each with a different set of methodological and conceptual tools. This volume reflects the new-found diversity in this field and is a true product of its time.
Documenting Acts of Cruelty
2012 Ball, M. Journal
The substantive focus of this article is a small collection of image-based case studies of significant criminal acts of interpersonal cruelty that are now in the public domain. In all instances those engaged in criminal acts of violence record and document aspects of their own behavior. The case studies range from military personnel and terrorists to examples from popular culture. Self-created images have the potential to serve as evidence of criminal behavior. For the viewing public recorded images are attributed with a “commonsense” evidential documentary potential. The article looks at the documentary method and the rationale behind recorded images serving evidential purposes.