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
Online Jihadi Instructional Content: The Role of Magazines
2017 Conway, M., Parker, J. and Looney, S. Chapter
This chapter focuses on the instructional content, both text and images, published in 26 issues of three jihadi magazines: Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s Inspire, Inspire’s forerunner Jihad Recollections, and Somali Al-Shabab’s Gaidi M’taani. Instruction was found to be a core component of Inspire as distinct from the varying types and levels of instruction appearing in Jihad Recollections and Gaidi M’taani. Noticeable too was that the text and images composing bomb-making instructional guides were not only the commonest, but also the most detailed types of guides contained in Inspire, with both a high number of images and lengthy supporting text. A clear finding is thus that the purpose of AQAP’s Inspire was not just to inspire readers, in the sense of infusing them with some thought or feeling, but also to supply them with instructions on how these thoughts or feelings could be violently actuated.
Tweeting Terror: An Analysis of the Norwegian Twitter-sphere during and in the Aftermath of the 22 July 2011 Terrorist Attack
2018 Steensen S. Chapter
This chapter analyses the Norwegian Twitter-sphere during and in the aftermath of the terrorist attack in Norway on 22 July 2011. Based on a collection of 2.2 million tweets representing the Twitter-sphere during the period 20 July–28 August 2011, the chapter seeks answers to how the micro-blogging services aided in creating situation awareness (SA) related to the emergency event, what role hashtags played in that process and who the dominant crisis communicators were. The chapter is framed by theories and previous research on SA and social media use in the context of emergency events. The findings reveal that Twitter was important in establishing SA both during and in the aftermath of the terrorist attack, that hashtags were of limited value in this process during the critical phase, and that unexpected actors became key communicators.
Book edited by Harald Hornmoen and Klas Backholm
Victims’ Use of Social Media during and after the Utøya Terror Attack: Fear, Resilience, Sorrow and Solidarity
2018 Frey E. Chapter
This chapter examines how those directly affected by the terror attack on Utøya in Norway on 22 July 2011 used social media to cope with the trauma. Through interviews with eight survivors and a study of their Facebook walls during the first month after the shooting, the chapter sets out to answer how they tell and re-tell the trauma on Facebook. In what way does their re-telling of the terror event give it meaning? With Narrative Therapy as its inspiration, this chapter studies different themes and stories on the Facebook walls, what is told about the event, its effects and responses to it. The meaning derived from the trauma is a story of national unity, democratic values and the redefining of Norway as a multicultural society. As for the perpetrator, he is written out of the story.
Book edited by Harald Hornmoen and Klas Backholm
Blood and Security during the Norway Attacks: Authorities’ Twitter Activity and Silence
2018 Ottosen R., Steensen S. Chapter
This chapter analyses the Norwegian authorities’ presence on Twitter during the 22 July 2011 terrorist attacks. Twitter activity by two official institutions is analysed in particular, namely, the blood bank at Oslo University Hospital and the Norwegian Police Security Services (PST). Our findings show that the Norwegian authorities were almost completely absent on Twitter during the critical hours of the terrorist attack, and that there was no coordination and synchronisation of communication from the authorities. This official silence allowed the diffusion of speculation and misinformation to take place; these were neither corrected nor addressed, as the analysed PST case shows. In contrast, the blood bank used Twitter to mobilise blood donors to address an acute problem: a shortage of blood to treat casualties. The chapter concludes by offering recommendations to the authorities for future major incidents. Book edited by Harald Hornmoen and Klas Backholm.
Social Media in Management of the Terror Crisis in Norway: Experiences and Lessons Learned
2018 Hornmoen H. , Måseide H. P. Chapter
The chapter addresses the question of how crisis and emergency communicators in the justice (police) and health sector in Norway reflect on their use – or lack of use – of social media during the terror crisis on 22 July 2011. We examine how these communicators in the years following the crisis have developed their use of social media to optimise their and the public’s awareness of similar crises. Our semi-structured interviews with key emergency managers and responders display how the terrorist-induced crisis in 2011 was a wake-up call for communicators in the police and the health sector. They reflect on the significance, strengths and weaknesses of social media in the management of crises such as this one. Book edited by Harald Hornmoen and Klas Backholm
News Workers’ Reflections on Digital Technology and Social Media after a Terror Event
2018 Konow-Lund T. M. Chapter
22 July 2011, saw the biggest domestic terror event in Norway since World War II. On this day, a right-wing terrorist placed a bomb in front of the Norwegian government building, where the prime minister had his office at the time. Later, the same perpetrator dressed up as a policeman and tricked his way into a political youth camp, where 69 mostly young people were killed. The present case study involves the leading national online news provider, VG, whose website, VG Nett, was Norway’s most-read online news site at the time of the attack. The study addresses the research gap of how news workers and managers see the potential of the affordances of digital media during crisis events. Furthermore, the study looks at how two different discourses of professionalism, the occupational and the organisational, informed journalists’ use of technological and social media affordances during this terror event, and at how online journalists and management reflect upon and continue to refine these approaches five years later. This study stresses the importance of a clear understanding of the decision-making processes that actually guide the handling of those affordances during a crisis event. Ultimately, this study questions not the perceived tension between the two discourses of professionalism, but their relative impact upon domestic crisis journalism in the technological realm. Book edited by Harald Hornmoen and Klas Backholm.
What Eye Movements and Facial Expressions Tell Us about User-Friendliness: Testing a Tool for Communicators and Journalists
2018 Lindholm J., Backholm K., and Högväg J. Chapter
Technical solutions can be important when key communicators take on the task of making sense of social media flows during crises. However, to provide situation awareness during high-stress assignments, usability problems must be identified and corrected. In usability studies, where researchers investigate the user-friendliness of a product, several types of data gathering methods can be combined. Methods may include subjective (surveys and observations) and psychophysiological (e.g. skin conductance and eye tracking) data collection. This chapter mainly focuses on how the latter type can provide detailed clues about user-friendliness. Results from two studies are summarised. The tool tested is intended to help communicators and journalists with monitoring and handling social media content during times of crises. Book Edited by Harald Hornmoen and Klas Backhoem.
Social Media and Situation Awareness during Terrorist Attacks: Recommendations for Crisis Communication
2018 Steensen S., Frey E., Hornmoen H., Ottosen R., Konow-Lund T. M., Chapter
This chapter summarises the findings of a case study on social media activity during the 22 July 2011 terrorist attacks in Norway. Based on these findings and on theories and previous research on the role of social media in situation awareness (SA) configuration during crisis situations, the chapter offers seven recommendations for key communicators in official crisis management and response institutions, journalistic institutions, NGOs and others: (1) acknowledge social media as important and master monitoring and management of features across social media; (2) synchronise communication and establish a standard operating procedure (SOP); (3) establish and make known a joint social media emergency account; (4) participate, interact and take the lead; (5) be aware of non-hashtagged content; (6) implement verification tools and practices and (7) engage with and learn from celebrities. Book edited by Harald Hornmoen and Klas Backholm
The Social Structure of Extremist Websites
2020 Bouchard, M., Davies, G., Frank, R., Wu, E. and Joffres, K. Chapter
In this study, we select the official websites of four known extremist groups and map the networks of hyperlinked websites forming a virtual community around them. The networks are constructed using a custom-built webcrawler (TENE: Terrorism and Extremism Network Extractor) that searches the HTML of a website for all the hyperlinks inserted directing to other websites (Bouchard et al., 2014). Following all of these hyperlinks out of the initial website of interest produces the network of websites forming a community that is more or less cohesive, more or less extensive, and more or less devoted to the same cause (Bouchard and Westlake, 2016; Westlake and Bouchard, 2016). The extent to which the official website of a group contains many hyperlinks towards external websites may be an indicator of a more active community, and it may be indicative of a more active social movement.
Posterboys und Terrorpropaganda
2020 Bötticher, A Chapter
Mit dem Begriff Cybergrooming wird normalerweise die gezielte Ansprache von meist minderjährigen Personen im Internet zum Zweck der Anbahnung sexueller Kontakte bezeichnet. Die Terrorgruppe ISIS hat eine sehr spezielle Form der Propaganda in Kombination mit persönlicher Ansprache junger Frauen und Mädchen entwickelt, die in Kriegs- und Krisengebiete zwecks Verheiratung gelockt werden sollen. So hat ISIS die Kombination aus terroristischer Propaganda und gezielter Ansprache von jungen Frauen und Mädchen perfektioniert und eine eigene Grooming-Systematik entwickelt, die bei propagandaempfänglichen Mädchen den Wunsch nach einer Djihad-Ehe auslöst. Sind die jungen Frauen oder Mädchen erst ausgereist, werden oft ihre Netzwerke aufgegriffen und die „Daheimgebliebenen“ von ihr zur Ausreise aufgefordert. Das vorliegende Kapitel entwickelt aus dem Begriff des Cybergrooming eine theoriegeleitete Form der Beobachtung extremistischen Handelns im Netz und wendet ihn auf den islamistischen Extremismus an, mit Schwerpunkt auf der Rekrutierung von Frauen und Mädchen.
New Technology in the Hands of the New Terrorism
2019 Goertz, S. and Streitparth, A. E. Chapter
This chapter examines the technological opportunities of the digital age and the Internet for a multidirectional exchange of Jihadi ideas, ideology, strategy and tactics. Myriads of social networks on the Internet serve as platforms for Jihadi disputes, which shows that the Internet and telecommunication technology of the twenty-first century are of central importance for new terrorism. Currently, the World Wide Web and its numerous media channels are the most important and most commonly and frequently used communication and propaganda platforms of the Islamist and Jihadi milieu. The Internet allows free cross-border and real-time communication and interaction as well as the reception of (supposedly authentic) reports on the fate of individual Jihadis and developments in far-off conflict regions. These technological achievements of the twenty-first century have enabled the (imagined) worldwide Umma to interconnect and pose a historically new potential for Jihadi actors of new terrorism to mobilise and radicalise Muslims on a global scale.
Online Hate: From the Far-Right to the ‘Alt-Right’ and from the Margins to the Mainstream
2019 Winter, A. Chapter
In the 1990s and early 2000s, there was much discussion about the democratic and anti-democratic implications of the Internet. The latter particularly focused on the ways in which the far-right were using the Internet to spread hate and recruit members. Despite this common assumption, the American far-right did not harness the Internet quickly, effectively or widely. More recently, however, they have experienced a resurgence and mainstreaming, benefitting greatly from social media. This chapter examines the history of their use of the Internet with respect to: (1) how this developed in response to political changes and emerging technologies; (2) how it reflected and changed the status of such movements and their brand of hate; and (3) the relationship between online activity and traditional methods of communication.
The Roles of ‘Old’ and ‘New’ Media Tools and Technologies in the Facilitation of Violent Extremism and Terrorism
2019 Scrivens, R. and Conway, M. Chapter
The media and communication strategies of two particular ideologies are focused on herein: right-wing extremists and violent jihadis – albeit an array of others is referred to also (e.g. nationalist-separatists such as the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and violent Islamists such as Hezbollah). Violent jihadists are inspired by Sunni Islamist-Salafism and seek to establish an Islamist society governed by their version of Islamic or Sharia law imposed by violence (Moghadam, 2008). Right-wing extremists may also subscribe to some radical interpretation of religion, but unlike those inspired by radical Islam, many extreme right adherents are not inspired by religious beliefs per se. Instead, what binds these actors is a racially, ethnically, and sexually defined nationalism, which is typically framed in terms of white power and grounded in xenophobic and exclusionary understandings of the perceived threats posed by such groups as non-whites, Jews, Muslims, immigrants, homosexuals, and feminists. Here the state is perceived as an illegitimate power serving the interests of all but the white man and, as such, right-wing extremists are willing to assume both an offensive and defensive stance in the interests of “preserving” their heritage and their “homeland” (Perry & Scrivens, 2016). With regard to the chapter’s structuring, the following sections are ordered chronologically, treating, in turn, early low-tech communication methods or what we term ‘pre-media,’ followed by other relatively low-tech tools, such as print and photocopying. The high-tech tools reviewed are film, radio, and television, followed by the Internet, especially social media.
The Role of the Internet in Facilitating Violent Extremism and Terrorism: Suggestions for Progressing Research
2019 Scrivens, R., Gill, P. and Conway, M. Chapter
Many researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers continue to raise questions about the role of the Internet in facilitating violent extremism and terrorism. A surge in research on this issue notwithstanding, relatively few empirically grounded analyses are yet available. This chapter provides researchers with five key suggestions for progressing knowledge on the role of the Internet in facilitating violent extremism and terrorism so that we may be better placed to determine the significance of online content and activity in the latter going forward. These five suggestions relate to (1) collecting primary data across multiple types of populations; (2) making archives of violent extremist online content accessible for use by researchers and on user-friendly platforms; (3) outreaching beyond terrorism studies to become acquainted with, for example, the Internet studies literature and engaging in interdisciplinary research with, for example, computer scientists; (4) including former extremists in research projects, either as study participants or project collaborators; and (5) drawing connections between the on- and offline worlds of violent extremists.
Vom Analogen ins Digitale. Eine kurze Geschichte der dschihadistischen Propaganda und ihrer Verbreitung
2020 Zabel, M. Chapter
Der Beitrag bietet eine kurze Einführung in die Geschichte dschihadistischer Propaganda von den 1980er Jahren bis in die Gegenwart. Nicht nur die medientechnologische und -kulturelle Entwicklung, sondern auch geopolitische Konfliktgeschichte mit wichtigen Stationen wie der sowjetischen Intervention in Afghanistan und dem ersten Tschetschenienkrieg sind hier ausschlaggebend. Was die Entwicklung auf dem Feld der Online-Propaganda betrifft, stützt sich der Verfasser auch auf eigenen Erfahrungen im Rahmen der Beobachtung und Analyse dschihadistischer Internet-Auftritte und -Kommunikatverbreitung.
Online Hate: From the Far-Right to the ‘Alt-Right’ and from the Margins to the Mainstream
2019 Winter, A. Chapter
In the 1990s and early 2000s, there was much discussion about the democratic and anti-democratic implications of the Internet. The latter particularly focused on the ways in which the far-right were using the Internet to spread hate and recruit members. Despite this common assumption, the American far-right did not harness the Internet quickly, effectively or widely. More recently, however, they have experienced a resurgence and mainstreaming, benefitting greatly from social media. This chapter examines the history of their use of the Internet with respect to: (1) how this developed in response to political changes and emerging technologies; (2) how it reflected and changed the status of such movements and their brand of hate; and (3) the relationship between online activity and traditional methods of communication.
Esoteric Fascism Online: 4chan and the Kali Yuga
2019 Tuters, M. Chapter
This chapter scrutinises how it is that anonymous chan culture engage with the alt-histories of esoteric fascism. To this end, the chapter begins with a brief description of the ideas of the mid-century Italian esotericist ‘Baron’ Julius Evola (arguably the single most significant intellectual influence esoteric fascism), before moving on to discuss anon’s vernacular interpretation of these ideas. In order to assess the ‘real world’ danger posed by these alt-histories, the essay concludes with a brief analysis of the particularly disturbing case of the Christchurch mass shooter whose manifesto was replete with anonymous chan culture and whom appears to have imagined himself as a holy warrior engaged fighting against ‘the great replacement’ of Western culture by alien outsiders—a notion which connects extreme-right terrorists with the discourse of new-right populist politicians and intellectuals.
White pride worldwide: Constructing global identities online
2016 Perry, B., Scrivens, R., Schweppe, J. and Walters, M. Chapter
To see the Internet as only a ‘tool’ or ‘resource’ for disseminating ideas and products, as much of the literature has done, is to miss an even more significant aspect of online venues. The Internet is also a site of important ‘identity work’, in which collective identities can be accomplished interactively. This chapter explores how collective identities are constructed by white supremacists who specifically exploit the web as a venue for expressing ‘white pride worldwide’. Drawing on social movement literature around the building of collective identities, we examine the online identity work of the ‘globalizing’ right-wing extremist movement through four key frames: alternative media/alternative messaging; identity borders; shared identity; and mobilizing hate. Here, we explore the Internet not as a tool, but as site for the active construction of collective white identity.
Australian Measures to Counter Violent Extremism Online: A Comparative Perspective on Far-Right and Jihadist Content
2020 Richards, I. Chapter
This chapter illustrates that online and offline measures to counter violent extremism in Australia have targeted jihadism over other forms of extremism. With attention to the open and intensifying state of far-right extremism in Australia, it advocates for increased attention to this situation. It contends that, given the recursive nature of online extremism and its political and international dimensions, material disseminated by far-right and jihadist groups should be addressed from a comparative perspective.
Legal and Security Frameworks for Responding to Online Violent Extremism: A Comparison of Far-right and Jihadist Contexts
2020 Richards, I. and Woods, M. Chapter
In recent years, there has been an intensification of international extremist violence linked in varying degrees to Internet-facilitated radicalisation. This has related to, among other things, a growth in prevalence of politically violent actors, including far-right and jihadist collectives. Extreme political polarisation, sometimes termed the ‘hyper-tribalism’ of those with violent or extreme views, is to some extent reinforced by these entities’ participation in social media. Radicalisation to terrorism is also arguably facilitated by the architectures of social media platforms, which comprise of personalisation algorithms and the re-mediating functions of ‘likes’, ‘shares’, and ‘re-tweets’ (Sunstein 2009; Pariser 2011; Wood 2017). This chapter reflects on characteristics of social media that can be perceived to encourage violent extremism and terrorism, and legal, security, and technological measures that have been developed internationally to prevent and counter online violent extremist expression. With reference to recent terrorism-related trends, it also highlights a disparity in legal measures to address far-right hate speech (Gelber & McNamara 2016; Davey et al. 2018), relative to thoseused to police and restrict online activity related to jihadism (Conway et al. 2018).