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 Extremist Islamist Presence In Canadian Webspace: An Empirical Study
2016 Thomson, N. MA Thesis
This paper outlines the results of a two-month study in which a series of extremist Islmnist websites - registered, hosted or given datacentre services by Canadian internet companies- were empirically observed. The results of this project are inserted into a framework which explores the issue and wrongful application of the "terrorist signifier to substance or nonstate activities, discerns between the purported use of the internet by extremist Islamist organizations for destructive means and the real use of the internet by such groups, and suggests a number of conclusions based on prior administrative responses to the extremist Islmnist use of the internet.
The Foreign Fighter Problem: Analyzing The Impact Of Social Media And The Internet
2015 Scaperotto, A. MA Thesis
The current foreign fighter problem has received significant global media attention. Why and how do individuals from relatively affluent Western countries travel to poor and war torn countries to fight in a foreign war? How do social media and the internet impact the process? Ultimately, fighting in a foreign war requires the will and ability to participate, which in turn requires that an individual overcome significant psychological and physical barriers. The process of overcoming these participation barriers and thus the process of becoming a foreign fighter, hinges on four key factors: transnational ideology, close-knit social groups, and transnational resource networks, and a foreign sponsor facilitates the process by integrating the other three factors. Prior to social media and the internet, this process worked through local networks with face-to-face interaction. With the spread of social media and the internet, these networks and interactions have become increasingly global and virtual, increasing audience numbers but also increasing state ability to intervene. Analyzing globalization’s impact, including what has changed and what has stayed the same, is important to understanding the foreign fighter phenomenon both now and in the future.
The Fringe Insurgency: Connectivity, Covergence and Mainstreaming of the Extreme Right
2017 Davey, J., and Ebner, J. Report
This report maps the ecosystem of the burgeoning
‘new’ extreme right across Europe and the US, which is
characterised by its international outlook, technological
sophistication, and overtures to groups outside of the
traditional recruitment pool for the extreme-right. This
movement is marked by its opportunistic pragmatism,
seeing movements which hold seemingly contradictory
ideologies share a bed for the sake of achieving
common goals. It examines points of connectivity
and collaboration between disparate groups and
assesses the interplay between different extreme-right
movements, key influencers and subcultures both
online and offline.
The Funtions Of White Nationalism Online: A Content Analysis Of White Nationalist Thematic Discourse Surrounding The Eve Carson Homicide
2009 Michelle, H. S. MA Thesis
Extant literature on White Nationalism illustrates the myriad of social issues members of this racialist extremist group presently recognize as threatening the continuation of the white race and the preservation of white heritage (Swain 2002). One of these threats includes the high incidences of black-on-white violent crime within the United States. The March 2008 murder of UNC student body president Eve Carson, a 22-year-old white woman, by two young black males elicited heated discussion among White Nationalists. This paper analyzes, via content analysis, the thematic discourse surrounding Carson's homicide among White Nationalists on two popular White Nationalist websites. Functionalist theory guides this investigation in the attempt to illustrate how White Nationalists use scientific theories of criminality and government crime statistics as tools for justifying their racist beliefs. Also, this study intended to answer whether or not Carson's murder prompted an increase in online membership on the two websites used for the analysis. Moreover, this study sought to unearth thematic discourse which involved attacking whites who do not subscribe to White Nationalism; Eve Carson as either a sacred or profane symbol of whiteness; criticism of government policies, media, and the criminal justice system; evoking fear within the White Nationalist community; and calls for white solidarity and action. This analysis suggests that White Nationalists primarily used Carson's death as an opportunity to attack whites who do not subscribe to White Nationalist beliefs.
The Geneva Conventions in Modern Warfare: A Contemporary Analysis of Conflict Classification, Combatant Status, and Detainee Treatment in the War on Terror
2012 Hardwick, P. A. MA Thesis
This study is focused on three topics regarding Geneva Convention III. First, is the process of classifying conflicts either as a Common Article 2 or Common Article 3 armed conflict at the onset of hostilities. Conflict classification is critical to the implementation of the Geneva Conventions in warfare and carries with it vast implications dependent upon that decision. The criterion for this classification is presented and, by using the United States as a case study, evaluated to determine whether this aspect of the conventions remains not only applicable but adequate to states who are a party to the treaty. Determinations of the United States and the legal support backing these decisions are thus investigated.
The German Far-right on YouTube: An Analysis of User Overlap and User Comments
2020 Rauchfleisch, A. and Kaiser, J. Article
This study focuses on the formation of far-right online communities on YouTube and whether the rise of three new actors (Pegida, Identitarian movement, AfD) can also be observed with user behavior on YouTube. We map the network of far-right, conspiracy and alternative media channels in the German-language YouTube sphere, how this network evolves over time and identify the topics that users discuss. Our analysis shows that the overall common denominator within the German far-right YouTube sphere is the refugee crisis and the problems associated with it. Furthermore, we show that the community is getting denser and more centralized over time.
The Hanau Terrorist Attack: How Race Hate and Conspiracy Theories Are Fueling Global Far-Right Violence
2020 Crawford, B. and Keen, F. Article
The number of lone-actor attacks committed by far-right extremists have surged in recent years, most notably in the West where mass-casualty attacks have occurred, including the United States, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Germany. The fatal attack in February 2020 in Hanau,
Germany, revealed the perpetrator’s influences to be a combination of traditional far-right, race-based, and anti-immigration narratives, alongside several more obscure conspiracy theories. This case demonstrates the need for further research into the intersection of these ideas and the online ecosystems in which they thrive, where notions such as the “Great Replacement” theory, aspects of which were echoed in the Hanau attacker’s own manifesto, are heavily propagated. It is this overarching idea that connects seemingly disparate attacks in a global network of ideologically analogous acts of terror.
The Hidden Face of Jihadist Internet Forum Management: The Case of Ansar Al Mujahideen
2014 Torres-Soriano, M.R. Article
This article offers a descriptive analysis of the private interactions which took place on the jihadist Internet forum known as Ansar Al Mujahideen between 2008 and 2010. The analysis of the non-visible part of the forum contributes to a more robust underpinning of some current assumptions regarding the jihadist Internet infrastructure and its hierarchical dependence on, and subordination to, formal terrorist organisations and charismatic leaders. In addition, it offers a new perspective on other aspects such as the many conflicts and rivalries between the different forums, the operational constraints caused by the lack of human and material resources, and the considerable vulnerability of the forums to cyber-sabotage and infiltration attempts.
The homogeneity of right-wing populist and radical content in YouTube recommendations
2020 Röchert, D., Weitzel, M. and Ross, B. Article
The use of social media to disseminate extreme political content on the web, especially right-wing populist propaganda, is no longer a rarity in today's life. Recommendation systems of social platforms, which provide personalized filtering of content, can contribute to users forming homogeneous cocoons around themselves. This study investigates YouTube's recommendations system based on 1,663 German political videos in order to analyze the homogeneity of the related content. After examining two datasets (right-wing populist and politically neutral videos), each consisting of ten initial videos and their first and second level recommendations, we show that there is a high degree of homogeneity of right-wing populist and neutral political content in the recommendation network. These findings offer preliminary evidence on the role of YouTube recommendations in fueling the creation of ideologically like-minded information spaces.
The Hunt For The Paper Tiger: The Social Construction Of Cyberterrorism
2006 Thatcher, S. E. H. PhD Thesis
For two decades, there has been a high-profile debate on the issue of cyberterrorism. Politicians, law enforcement agents, the information security industry, other experts and the press have all made claims about the threats to and vulnerabilities in our society, who is responsible and what should be done. This is a UK study in the field of Information Systems based on interpretative philosophical assumptions. The framework for the study is provided by the concept of moral panic, propounded by Cohen (2002) and elaborated by Goode and Ben-Yehuda (1994) and Critcher (2003). Moral panic is used widely in the reference discipline of Sociology as a tool for investigating the social construction of social problems in cases where there is heightened public concern and intense media interest, closely followed by changes in legislation and social control mechanisms. This study employs moral panic as an heuristic device to assist in the investigation of the social mechanisms at work in the social construction of cyberterrorism The corpus of data for analysis comprised articles from the UK national press relevant to cyberterrorism. A grounded theory approach was used to analyse these articles in order to identify images, orientations, stereotypes and symbolisation and to examine
representational trends over time. Reflexivity in such a task is of the utmost importance, and the analytic process leading to an explanation of the social processes at work was deliberately divorced from the moral panic framework in order to guarantee rigour in the findings. The findings set out an explanation of how the concept of cyberterrorism has been constructed over two decades and compares this explanation with a framework provided by a model of moral panic. These findings are then linked to wider issues about national security, civil liberties and state control of information and communication technologies.
The Impact of Counternarratives
2016 Silverman, T., Stewart, C.J., Amanullah, Z. and Birdwell, J. Report
The concept of creating counter-narratives in order to push back against extremist recruitment and propaganda has become well established in recent years. In practice, however, it has proven difficult to curate this content in a systematic way, target it toward at risk audiences, and - most importantly - measure constructive impact on their behaviour. Over the past few years, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) has developed research and pilot studies conducted with the Against Violent Extremism (AVE) network of former extremists and survivors of extremism that it manages. This research has been conducted in order to test and improve methodologies that help optimise the impact of counternarrative campaigns. This report outlines the key findings and results of three counter-narrative campaign pilot projects curated through the AVE network in coordination with Jigsaw and with additional in-kind assistance or financial support from Facebook and Twitter. Although some details and figures have been omitted for security purposes, the results of the study are presented in full.
The Impact Of Opinion Leadership And External Events On Forum Participants Following ISIS Online
2016 Thomas, E.N.P. MA Thesis
The study monitors the evolution of perceptions and opinions of the terrorist group the Islamic State (ISIS) during its involvement in Syria and Iraq in 2013-2014. Data is drawn from a web-forum discussing current Islamic affairs that followed ISIS as early as September 2013. These data are used to answer the question of whether or not there are opinion leaders facilitating the discussion of violent extremist material. An interrupted time series and ordinary least squares regression are used to address the research question by determining the most impactful events on the thread, and determining the causal role of opinion leaders on the way users connect. Results indicate that the content and success of discussion are most impacted by the involvement of opinion leaders and media related to a specific ISIS event.
The Importance of Web 2.0 for Jihad 3.0: Female Jihadists Coming to Grips with Religious Violence on Facebook
2016 Carvalho, C. Journal
The Jihadist phenomenon has a privileged space in Web 2.0 where contents can be created, networks can be global and all exchanges of information have significance. The emergent Jihadist organizations have been profiting from these digital communication features to enlarge, diversify and connect with their audience. On the one side, the virtual framing of Jihad through the manipulation of the sacred Islamic texts and its transformation into an ‘authentic’ religious discourse has given the Jihadists an opportunity to justify any religious violence associated with the performance of Jihad. On the other side, the virtual performance of Jihad through a ritualization process that combines ritualistic innovation with the use of cyber tools has allured individuals to engage and participate in Jihadist acts, both online and offline. Moreover, and in the light of the Jihadist warfare in the Middle East, the article will reveal the importance of e-Ritualization of Jihad into shaping these individual representations into a community both offline and online.
The Information Battlefield: Al-Qaeda's Use Of Advanced Media Technologies For Framed Messaging
2011 Martin, J.M. MA Thesis
Through a descriptive and qualitative content analysis of Al-Qaeda videos from 2001 to 2010, this thesis describes how the organization‘s video production has undergone a surge in production quality by using modern technology and skilled recruits. This thesis also provides background on the Islamic culture and the history of Al-Qaeda in order to put into perspective the goals of the organization‘s framed messages that are incorporated into their videos. The study also draws on the parallels of propaganda used throughout history to highlight how regimes from all over the world understand the importance of communication during a time of war.
The Interaction of Extremist Propaganda and Anger as Predictors of Violent Responses
2017 Shortland, N., Nader, E., Imperillo, N., Kyrielle, R. and Dmello, J. Journal
In this study, and with a view to extending upon existing findings on the effects of general violent media on violent cognitions, we experimentally measured the relationship between exposure to extremist propaganda and violent cognitions. Our results countered our hypotheses and the wider findings of violent media and aggression that exposure to violent stimuli increases violent thoughts and that this effect is moderated by trait aggression. Specifically, this study found that participants with low and medium trait aggression became more pro-social after being exposed to extremist propaganda. We discuss these results with reference to theories of terror management and mortality salience, as well as the implications of these results for wider theories of the role of online extremist material in the wider “radicalization” process.
The Internet And Homegrown Jihadist Terrorism: Assessing U S Detection Techniques
2010 Banez, J.D. MA Thesis
The idea of homegrown terrorism is not a new concept, especially considering the history of challenges faced by the United States and other Western countries. However, the current violent jihadist problem has overshadowed those past misfortunes in terms of its objective and volatility. What is emergent is the means by which the individuals involved in this movement reinforce or possibly operationalize their radicalized behavior. The Internet is often that vehicle. Efforts to reform U.S. intelligence have placed increasing value on open-source information for threat assessments. Consequently, the open Internet has been targeted in search of radical actors, both foreign and homegrown. Some analysts contend that the availability of radical discourse on the Internet presents an opportunity for early identification by authorities. This thesis analyzes the value of open-source exploitation of the Internet in the domestic counterterrorism role in relation to other detection techniques in order to extract best practices and lessons learned for improved intelligence and law enforcement activities.
The Internet and Its Potentials for Networking and Identity Seeking: A Study on ISIS
2017 Sardarnia, K. Journal
With the accelerating process of globalization and the development of its technological dimension, more and more opportunities and channels are available to the terrorist groups in the world to mobilize resources and advocates. “Islamic State of Iraq and Sham” (ISIS), as the most modern terrorist-excommunicative group (Takfiry), has been able to utilize the Internet and social networks highly adeptly. While ignoring the function of long-term structural and essential factors underlying the formation of ISIS, and also combining the networked society theory and triple forms of identities proposed by Manuel Castells with theoretical discussions on identity making, networking, and mobilization of media, the current article seeks to analyze the role of cyberspace and social networks as accelerating and opportunistic agents in mobilizing resources and disseminating ISIS. Using an explanatory analytical research method, the current article mainly intends to find a reply to the question: What has been the role of online social networks in connection with ISIS as an excommunicative and terrorist group? According to the research hypothesis, due to ISIS’s subtle, prevocational-emotional and targeted utilization of online social networks, the networks have played the role of an accelerator and opportunity maker in some areas including network building, guidance of public opinion, identity making, and the promotion of project identity of this terrorist group. The general conclusion obtained from the article is that ISIS, as the most terrifying and the most modern group equipped with cyber media, has been able to attract many forces out of fanatical religious groups, unemployed people, criminals, etc., worldwide. Additionally, with the recruitment of fanatics, ISIS has been able to accomplish identity making and network building. As a result, regional security and even security in Western countries is also highly endangered.
The Internet in Indonesia: Development and Impact of Radical Websites
2010 Yang Hui, J. Journal
The Internet has become a crucial part of modern society's life due to its ability to facilitate communication and structure contemporary society. Indonesia has not been left out of this global phenomenon. The Internet came to Indonesia in 1983 and its usage has continued to expand ever since, especially within institutions of learning and in the government sector. The study of radical websites must be situated within the development of the Internet in Indonesia in general instead of being examined by itself. The impact of certain activities such as cyberterrorism must then be examined in perspective, given the vast expanse of Indonesia as an archipelago and the resulting difficulties in linking the entire country to the Internet. This article seeks to trace the development of the Internet in Indonesia and examine the resulting impact on the reach of the radical Bahasa Indonesia Islamic websites in the Indonesian Archipelago and beyond. It also highlights typical narrative and operations of the radical websites, which serves to distinguish them from radical websites from elsewhere, such as the Middle East.
The Internet in The Paris Riots of 2005
2014 Tønnevold, C. Journal
The riots in the suburbs of Paris (and across the country) in October and November 2005 lasted for about three weeks. The degree of violence and anger of the riots astonished an entire world. While the mainstream media, both in France and internationally, covered these events ‘as usual,’ some became aware that the internet seemed to play a role in the youths’ involvement and engagement in the events. This paper attempts to answer some important questions regarding the role of the internet: Why and how was it important? Did the web-only-publications, such as online news-sites and blogs, have any function for the people participating in the riots, or for those who were trying to put an end to them? What is more generally the potential of the internet, outside of the established media that also operate online, when ‘hot social issues’ catch fire and become explosive happenings.
The Internet Police
2019 Breinholt, J. Report
This paper, part of the Legal Perspectives on Tech Series, was commissioned in conjunction with the Congressional Counterterrorism Caucus.