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
Bastard Culture! How User Participation Transforms Cultural Production
2011 Schäfer, M.T. Book
On how participation via Internet and social media transform cultural production
Paris And Nice Terrorist Attacks: Exploring Twitter And Web Archives
2019 Schafer, V., Truc, G. and Badouard, R. Article
The attacks suffered by France in January and November 2015, and then in the course of 2016, especially the Nice attack, provoked intense online activity both during the events and in the months that followed. The digital traces left by this reactivity and reactions to events gave rise, from the very first days and even hours after the attacks, to a ‘real-time’ institutional archiving by the National Library of France (Bibliothèque nationale de France) and the National Audio-visual Institute (Institut national de l’audiovisuel). The results amount to millions of archived tweets and URLs. This article seeks to highlight some of the most significant issues raised by these relatively unprecedented corpora, from collection to exploitation, from online stream of data to its mediation and re-composition. Indeed, web archiving practices in times of emergency and crises are significant, almost emblematic, loci to explore the human and technical agencies, and the complex temporalities, of ‘born-digital’ heritage. The cases examined here emphasize the way these ‘emergency collections’ challenge the perimeters and the very nature of web archives as part of our digital and societal heritage, and the guiding visions of its governance and mission. Finally, the present analysis underlines the need for a careful contextualization of the design process – both of original web pages or tweets and of their archived images – and of the tools deployed to collect, retrieve and analyse them.
Jumanji Extremism? How Games and Gamification Could Facilitate Radicalization Processes
2020 Schlegel, L. Article
While the last years have seen increased engagement with gaming in relation to extremist attacks, its potential role in facilitating radicalization has received less attention than other factors. This article makes an exploratory contribution to the theoretical foundations of the study of gaming in radicalization research. It is argued that both top-down and bottom up gamification have already impacted extremist discourse and potentially radicalization processes but that research on gamification in other contexts points to a much wider application of gamification to extremist propaganda distribution tools in the future. The potential influence of video games on radicalization processes exceeds the transfer of the popular argument that exposure to violent media leads to desensitization to the context of radicalization and includes the exploitation of pop culture references, increases in self-efficacy regarding violence, and the direct experience of retropian visions through the content of games.
“Yes, I can”: what is the role of perceived self-efficacy in violent online-radicalisation processes of “homegrown” terrorists?
2019 Schlegel, L. Article
Radicalisation is influenced by a multitude of factors such as situational, social and psychological factors, including social-cognitive processes. This article explores how homegrown extremists are influenced by their perceived agency and how the beliefs of their own abilities to change their situation are directly shaped by the online-propaganda they consume using ISIS propaganda as a case study. The article serves as an exploratory analysis of the potential explanatory qualities of Bandura’s theory of self-efficacy. This preliminary theoretical work explores how online-propaganda seeks to increase perceived personal self-efficacy to inspire action. The findings indicate that an increased focus on agency beliefs may facilitate a more holistic understanding of the psycho-social processes influencing radicalization and factors driving certain individuals to perpetrate violence while others do not. More research needs to be conducted, but this work is a first exploratory step in advancing our understanding of self-efficacy beliefs in the radicalization of homegrown extremists.
Online-Radicalisation: Myth or Reality?
2018 Schlegel. L Report
The proliferation of extremist, jihadist and violence-inciting websites, blogs and channels in social media has long since become a major theme in security policy. Extremists and terrorists use the new technological tools to communicate with each other, to organise themselves and to publicise their ideas. Whereas terrorists in the previous millennium were still dependent on journalists to report their acts and to draw attention to their group and their ideology, potentially violent groups today are in a position to publish their story and their intentions unfiltered on the web, and to communicate with each other swiftly and effectively across national borders. Ever since the case of Australian teenager Jake Bilardi, who travelled to the territories of the so-called Islamic State (IS)
and in 2015, at the age of 19, committed a suicide attack in Ramadi (Iraq), however, it is not just online communication by extremists that is in focus, but also the phenomenon of online radicalisation. According to the current state of information, Bilardi converted to Islam without any direct influences from his immediate environment, radicalised himself exclusively via online media, and travelled to Syria with the help of online contacts. His case, and many other cases of Western recruits, raised the question of whether a process of radicalisation can take place exclusively online or if online propaganda is only one facilitating factor that promotes and perhaps accelerates radicalization, but is in itself not sufficient to explain the whole process. Unfortunately, there are still not enough systematic, empirical studies on this subject area and our knowledge is generally limited
to known perpetrator profiles. Nevertheless, some general statements can be made regarding online radicalisation.
A Survey on Hate Speech Detection using Natural Language Processing
2017 Schmidt, A. and Wiegand, M. Article
This paper presents a survey on hate speech detection. Given the steadily growing body of social media content, the amount of online hate speech is also increasing. Due to the massive scale of the web, methods that automatically detect hate speech are required. Our survey describes key areas that have been explored to automatically recognize these types of utterances using natural language processing. We also discuss limits of those approaches.
Artificial Intelligence and Countering Violent Extremism: A Primer
2020 Schroeter, M. Report
Radicalisation can take place offline as well as online. To what extent the internet plays a role remains contested. Doubtless, there are radical and extreme communities online. This report looked into the ability of artificial intelligence (AI) applications to contribute to countering radicalisation. Mapping the possibilities and limitations of this technology in its various forms, the report aims to support decision‑makers and experts navigate the noise, leading to informed decisions unswayed by the current hype.
Hasskrieger: Der neue globale Rechtsextremismus
2020 Schwarz, K. Book
Von Christchurch bis Halle: Wie sich der Rechtsterrorismus neu erfindet
Radikale und extreme Rechte vernetzen sich längst nicht mehr nur durch geheime Treffen. Sie sind ganz offen im Internet unterwegs, über alle nationalen Grenzen hinweg. Ihr Umgang mit der digitalen Infrastruktur ist versiert. Ihre Mittel: Strategiepapiere, Guerilla-Marketing und organisierte Hasskampagnen. An die Stelle straff organisierter Gruppen treten immer öfter lose Netzwerke. Viele radikalisieren sich, ein Teil von ihnen greift zur Gewalt, einige von ihnen töten. Karolin Schwarz, Journalistin und Expertin für rechte Propaganda im Internet, zeigt, wie sich Rechtsextremismus organisiert und eine neue Form des globalen Terrorismus entsteht, dessen Gewalt zum Ausbruch kommt. Parallel tragen rechtspopulistische Regierungen und totalitäre Regime Lüge und Hetze über das Netz nach Europa – eine unheilvolle Allianz. Schwarz macht deutlich: Gesellschaft, Justiz und Politik sind keineswegs wehrlos. Dafür müssen sie rechte Strategien und Technologien aber kennen und verstehen.
Digitale Worte – Analoge Taten: Eine fallgestützte Analyse nach außen und nach innen kommunizierter Ideologie einer rechtsextremen Gruppierung
2020 Schwarz, K., Hartung, F., Piening, M.T., Bischof, S., Fernholz, T., Fielitz, M., Patz, J., Richter, C., Diskriminierung, F. and Hasskriminalität, F. Article
In diesem Beitrag werden auf Basis von staatsanwaltschaftlichen Verfahrensakten, Daten der Programmierschnittstelle von Twitter (API) und frei zugänglichen Online-Inhalten Konstitutions- und Kommunikationsdynamiken einer rechtsextremistischen Gruppierung analysiert, von der mehrere Mitglieder 2014 wegen der Bildung einer kriminellen Vereinigung verurteilt wurden. Es wird rekonstruiert und analysiert, wie die jungen Erwachsenen über verschiedene Kommunikationskanäle innerhalb ihrer Gruppe und nach außen kommunizieren, wie sich interne und externe Selbstdarstellungen unterscheiden. Dabei wird aufgezeigt, welchen Stellenwert Gewalt und Gewaltbefürwortung in dieser Gruppe besitzen, wie sich die Mitglieder als Individuen und als Kollektiv definieren, Geltung verschaffen und von anderen abgrenzen wollen. Da für die Kommunikation der Gruppe nicht zuletzt Social Media eine Rolle spielen, wird auch diskutiert, inwiefern Mechanismen digitaler, netzwerkbasierter Kommunikation, wie die sogenannte Filterblase, für den Radikalisierungsprozess relevant sind.
Antisemitismus 2.0 und die Netzkultur des Hasses
2018 Schwarz-Friesel, M Report
Judenfeindschaft als kulturelle Konstante und kollektiver Gefühlswert im digitalen Zeitalter (Kurzfassung) In welchen Manifestationen tritt Antisemitismus im 21. Jahrhundert in Erscheinung? Wie, wo und von wem werden judenfeindliche Inhalte artikuliert und verbreitet? Welche Stereotype werden kodiert, welche Argumente benutzt? Welche Rolle spielen Emotionen und irrationale Affektlogik beim aktuellen Einstellungs- und Verbalantisemitismus? Inwiefern hat das Internet die Verbreitung und Intensivierung von Antisemitismen akzeleriert und forciert? Wie lassen sich die modernen Ausprägungen des Judenhasses wissenschaftlich beschreiben, einordnen und erklären? Die vorliegende Langzeitstudie im Rahmen der empirischen Antisemitismusforschung zur Artikulation, Tradierung, Verbreitung und Manifestation von Judenhass im Internet hat sich mit diesen Fragen beschäftigt und quantitativ umfangreiche sowie inhaltlich detaillierte Untersuchungen vorgenommen.
Measuring The Evolution Of Radical Right Wing Posting Behaviors Online
2018 Scrivens, R. Article
Researchers have previously explored how right-wing extremists build a collective identity online by targeting their perceived “threat,” but little is known about how this “us” versus “them” dynamic evolves over time. This study uses a sentiment analysis-based algorithm that adapts criminal career measures, as well as semi-parametric group-based modeling, to evaluate how users’ anti-Semitic, anti-Black, and anti-LGBTQ posting behaviors develop on a sub-forum of the most conspicuous white supremacy forum. The results highlight the extent to which authors target their key adversaries over time, as well as the applicability of a criminal career approach in measuring radical posting trajectories online.


Exploring Radical Right-Wing Posting Behaviors Online
2020 Scrivens, R. Article
In recent years, researchers have shown a vested interest in developing advanced information technologies, machine-learning algorithms, and risk-assessment tools to detect and analyze radical content online, with increased attention on identifying violent extremists or measuring digital pathways of violent radicalization. Yet overlooked in this evolving space has been a systematic examination of what constitutes radical posting behaviors in general. This study uses a sentiment analysis-based algorithm that adapts criminal career measures – and is guided by communication research on social influence – to develop and describe three radical posting behaviors (high-intensity, high-frequency, and high-duration) found on a sub-forum of the most conspicuous right-wing extremist forum. The results highlight the multi-dimensional nature of radical right-wing posting behaviors, many of which may inform future risk factor frameworks used by law enforcement and intelligence agencies to identify credible threats online.
Examining the Developmental Pathways of Online Posting Behavior in Violent Right-Wing Extremist Forums
2020 Scrivens, R. Article
Many researchers, practitioners, and policymakers are concerned about online communities that are known to facilitate violent right-wing extremism, but little is empirically known about these digital spaces in general and the developmental posting behaviors that make up these spaces in particular. In this study, group-based trajectory modeling—derived from a criminal career paradigm—was used to identify posting trajectories found in the open-access sections of the Iron March and Fascist Forge forums, both of which have gained notoriety for their members’ online advocacy of violence and acts of violence carried out by them. Multinomial logistic regression and analysis of variance were then used to assess whether posters’ time of entry into the violent forums predicted trajectory group assignment. Overall, the results highlight a number of similarities and differences in posting behaviors within and across platforms, many of which may inform future risk factor frameworks used by law enforcement and intelligence agencies to identify credible threats online. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of this analysis, followed by a discussion of study limitations and avenues for future research.
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.
Triggered by Defeat or Victory? Assessing the Impact of Presidential Election Results on Extreme Right-Wing Mobilization Online
2020 Scrivens, R., Burruss, G.W., Holt, T.J., Chermak, S.M., Freilich, J.D. and Frank, R. Article
The theoretical literature from criminology, social movements, and political sociology, among others, includes diverging views about how political outcomes could affect movements. Many theories argue that political defeats motivate the losing side to increase their mobilization while other established models claim the winning side may feel encouraged and thus increase their mobilization. We examine these diverging perspectives in the context of the extreme right online and recent presidential elections by measuring the effect of the 2008 and 2016 election victories of Obama and Trump on the volume of postings on the largest white supremacy web-forum. ARIMA time series using intervention modeling showed a significant and sizable increase in the total number of posts and right-wing extremist posts but no significant change for firearm posts in either election year. However, the volume of postings for all impact measures was highest for the 2008 election.
Searching for Signs of Extremism on the Web: An Introduction to Sentiment-Based Identification of Radical Authors
2017 Scrivens, R., Davies, G., and Frank, R. Journal
As violent extremists continue to surface in online discussion forums, law enforcement agencies search for new ways of uncovering their digital indicators. Researchers have both described and hypothesized a number of ways to detect online traces of potential extremists, yet this area of inquiry remains in its infancy. This study proposes a new search method that, through the analysis of sentiment, identifies the most radical users within online forums. Although this method is applicable to web-forums of any type, the method was evaluated on four Islamic forums containing approximately 1 million posts of its 26,000 unique users. Several characteristics of each user’s postings were examined, including their posting behavior and the content of their posts. The content was analyzed using Parts-Of-Speech tagging, sentiment analysis, and a novel algorithm called ‘Sentiment-based Identification of Radical Authors’, which accounts for a user’s percentile score for average sentiment score, volume of negative posts, severity of negative posts, and duration of negative posts. The results suggest that there is no simple typology that best describes radical users online; however, the method is flexible enough to evaluate several properties of a user’s online activity that can identify radical users on the forums.
Sentiment-Based Identification of Radical Authors (SIRA).
2015 Scrivens, R., Davies, G., Frank, R. and Mei, J. Article
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.
Combating Violent Extremism Voices Of Former Right Wing Extremists
2019 Scrivens, R., Venkatesh, V., Bérubé, M. and Gaudette, T. Article
While it has become increasingly common for researchers, practitioners and policymakers to draw from the insights of former extremists to combat violent extremism, overlooked in this evolving space has been an in-depth look at how formers perceive such efforts. To address this gap, interviews were conducted with 10 Canadian former right-wing extremists based on a series of questions provided by 30 Canadian law enforcement officials and 10 community activists. Overall, formers suggest that combating violent extremism requires a multidimensional response, largely consisting of support from parents and families, teachers and educators, law enforcement officials, and other credible formers.
Comparing the Online Posting Behaviors of Violent and Non-Violent Right-Wing Extremists
2021 Scrivens, R., Wojciechowski, T.W., Freilich, J.D., Chermak, S.M. and Frank, R. Article
Despite the ongoing need for researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to identify and assess the online activities of violent extremists prior to their engagement in violence offline, little is empirically known about their online behaviors generally or differences in their posting behaviors compared to non-violent extremists who share similar ideological beliefs particularly. In this study, we drew from a unique sample of violent and non-violent right-wing extremists to compare their posting behaviors within a sub-forum of the largest white supremacy web-forum. Analyses for the current study proceeded in three phases. First, we plotted the average posting trajectory for users in the sample, followed by an assessment of the rates at which they stayed active or went dormant in the sub-forum. We then used logistic regression to examine whether specific posting behaviors were characteristic of users’ violence status. The results highlight a number of noteworthy differences in the posting behaviors of violent and non-violent right-wing extremists, many of which may inform future risk factor frameworks used by law enforcement and intelligence agencies to identify credible threats online. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of this analysis, its limitations and avenues for future research.