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
Terrorism and (Mass) Communication: From Nitro to the Net
2004 Conway, M. Article
In their seminal contribution to the study of terrorism and the media, Violence as Communication (1982), Alex Schmid and Jenny De Graaf point out that before technology made possible the amplification and multiplication of speech, the maximum number of people that could be reached simultaneously was determined by the range of the human voice and was around 20,000 people. In the nineteenth century, the size of an audience was expanded twenty-five to fifty times. In 1839 the New York Sun published a record 39,000 copies; in 1896, on the occasion of President McKinley’s election, two US papers, belonging to Pulitzer and Hearst, for the first time printed a million copies. William McKinley paid a high price for this publicity. In 1901 he was killed by an anarchist, Leon Czolgosz, who explained his deed with the words: ‘For a man should not claim so much attention, while others receive none.’ Historically, access to the communication structure was intimately related to power. With the growth of the press, and later television, a situation arose that gave unequal chances of expression to different people. This connection between power and free expression was summed-up by A.J. Liebling who observed that ‘Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one.
Cyberterrorism: Media Myth or Clear and Present Danger?
2004 Conway, M. Chapter
Chapter, "Cyberterrorism: media myth or clear and present danger?" in book: Irwin, Jones, (ed.) War and virtual war: the challenges to communities.
Hackers as Terrorists? Why it Doesn't Compute
2003 Conway, M. Article
The bulk of this article is concerned with showing why computer hackers and terrorists are unlikely to form an unholy alliance to engage in so-called
cyberterrorism. The remainder of the paper examines why neither hacktivists nor crackers fall easily into the cyberterrorist category either.
Code wars: Steganography, Signals Intelligence, and Terrorism
2003 Conway, M. Article
This paper describes and discusses the process of secret communication known as steganography. The argument advanced here is that terrorists are unlikely to be employing digital steganography to facilitate secret intra-group communication as has been claimed. This is because terrorist use of digital steganography is both technically and operationally implausible. The position adopted in this paper is that terrorists are likely to employ low-tech steganography such as semagrams and null ciphers instead.
Cyberterrorism: the story so far
2003 Conway, M. Journal
This paper is concerned with the origins and development of the concept of cyberterrorism. It seeks to excavate the story of the concept through an analysis of both popular/media renditions of the term and scholarly attempts to define the borders of same. The contention here is not that cyberterrorism cannot happen or will not happen, but that, contrary to popular perception, it has not happened yet.
Terrorism and IT: Cyberterrorism and Terrorist Organisations Online
2003 Conway, M. Chapter
Chapter, "Terrorism and IT: cyberterrorism and terrorist organisations online" in book: Howard, Russell D. and Sawyer, Reid L., (eds.) Terrorism and counterterrorism: understanding the new security environment, readings and interpretations
Media, Fear and the Hyperreal: the Construction of Cyberterrorism as the Ultimate Threat to Critical Infrastructures
2008 Conway, M. Article
Analysis of the construction of the cyberterrorist threat, with the core argument that US media outlets have been significant contributors not just to the dissemination, but to the actual discursive construction of the contemporary cyberterrorist threat and, further, that it is their emphasis on the (imagined) fatal connectivity between virtual networks and physical infrastructures that makes the concept of cyberterror so powerful.
'Weighing the Role of the Internet in Past, Present, and Future Terrorism' Dr Maura Conway
2014 Conway, M. Lecture
VOX-Pol Coordinator Dr Maura Conway discussing the role of the Internet in the past, the present & the future of terrorism, at the 2014 Symposium of Cyber Terrorism Project at Swansea University.
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
From al-Zarqawi to al-Awlaki: The Emergence and Development of an Online Radical Milieu
2012 Conway, M. Journal
Radical milieus have been described as specific social environ¬ments whose culture, narratives, and symbols shape both individuals and groups, and the social networks and relationships out of which those individuals and groups develop and emerge. Researcher Peter Waldmann and his co-authors attribute distinct and independent qualities to these environments, portraying them as social entities in their own right, that is, a collective of people sharing certain perspectives and a unitary identity: a “subculture” or a “community.” This does not mean that conflict is absent between any given radical milieu and the violent extremist or terrorist group(s) that emerges from within it. Milieus have their own interests that lead them not just to interact with, but oftentimes to criticise and sometimes even confront their violent offshoots. Perhaps most importantly, Waldmann’s conception of radical milieus appears not merely to have social relationships as a core characteristic, but necessitates, implicitly or explicitly, face-to-face interaction amongst the members of any given milieu.
Violent Extremism and Terrorism Online In 2016: The Year In Review
2016 Conway, M. VOX-Pol Publication
The use of the Internet, including social media, by violent extremists and terrorists and their supporters has been a source of anxiety for policymakers and publics for a number of years. This is based on the idea that there is a connection between consumption of and networking around violent extremist and terrorist online content and adoption of extremist ideology (i.e. so-called ‘online radicalisation’) and/or recruitment into violent extremist or terrorist groups or movements and/or attack planning and preparation and/or, ultimately, engagement in violent extremism and terrorism. Concerns have been raised, in particular, regarding easy access to large volumes of potentially influencing violent extremist and terrorist content on prominent and heavily trafficked social media platforms.
Determining The Role Of The Internet In Violent Extremism And Terrorism Six Suggestions For Progressing Research
2016 Conway, M. VOX-Pol Publication
Some scholars and others are sceptical of a significant role for the Internet in processes of violent radicalisation. There is increasing concern on the part of other scholars, and increasingly also policymakers and publics, that easy availability of violent extremist content online may have violent radicalising effects. This article identifies a number of core questions regarding the interaction of violent extremism and terrorism and the Internet, particularly social media, that have yet to be adequately addressed and supplies a series of six follow-up suggestions, flowing from these questions, for progressing research in this area. These suggestions relate to (1) widening the range of types of violent online extremism being studied beyond violent jihadis; (2) engaging in more comparative research, not just across ideologies, but also groups, countries, languages, and social media platforms; (3) deepening our analyses to include interviewing and virtual ethnographic approaches; (4) up-scaling or improving our capacity to undertake “big data” collection and analysis; (5) outreaching beyond terrorism studies to become acquainted with, for example, the Internet Studies literature and engaging in interdisciplinary research with, for example, computer scientists; and (6) paying more attention to gender as a factor in violent online extremism. This research was produced with the aid of VOX-Pol Research Mobility Programme funding and supervision by VOX-Pol colleagues at Dublin City University.
Violent Extremism and Terrorism Online in 2018: The Year in Review
2019 Conway, M. VOX-Pol Publication
This report treats developments in the violent extremist and terrorist online scene(s) in the 12-month period from 1 December 2017 to 30 November 2018.1 It is divided into three parts: Part I focuses on the online activities of violent jihadis, particularly the so-called ‘Islamic State’ (hereafter IS); Part II supplies information on contemporary extreme right online activity; and Part III identifies issues in the violent extremism and terrorism online realm that bear watching in 2019.

In terms of overarching trends, the focus of policymakers, internet companies, media, and thus also publics has, since 2014, been almost exclusively on IS’s online activity. A growing concern with extreme right activity, both its online and offline variants, began to be apparent in 2017 however, especially in the wake of events in Charlottesville. This solidified in 2018 due to a number of factors, including a decrease in IS terrorist attacks in the West and an uptick in extreme right and hate attacks and terrorist events, a number of the latter of which appeared to have significant online components. Having said this, IS is still active on the ground in numerous locales globally and continues to produce and widely disseminate online content, as do a large number of other groups that share core tenets of its ideology. IS may be down therefore, but it is certainly not out.
Routing the Extreme Right: Challenges for Social Media Platforms
2020 Conway, M. Article
Between 2014 and 2017, the Islamic State maintained vibrant communities on a range of social media platforms. Due to aggressive account and content takedown policies by the major platforms, these visible communities are now almost non-existent. Following the March 2019 Christchurch attack, the question as to why major platforms cannot rout the extreme right in the same way has repeatedly arisen. In this article, Maura Conway explores why this is not as straightforward as it may seem.
Online Extremism and Terrorism Research Ethics: Researcher Safety, Informed Consent, and the Need for Tailored Guidelines
2021 Conway, M. Article
This article reflects on two core issues of human subjects’ research ethics and how they play out for online extremism and terrorism researchers. Medical research ethics, on which social science research ethics are based, centers the protection of research subjects, but what of the protection of researchers? Greater attention to researcher safety, including online security and privacy and mental and emotional wellbeing, is called for herein. Researching hostile or dangerous communities does not, on the other hand, exempt us from our responsibilities to protect our research subjects, which is generally ensured via informed consent. This is complicated in data-intensive research settings, especially with the former type of communities, however. Also grappled with in this article therefore are the pros and cons of waived consent and deception and the allied issue of prevention of harm to subjects in online extremism and terrorism research. The best path forward it is argued—besides talking through the diversity of ethical issues arising in online extremism and terrorism research and committing our thinking and decision-making around them to paper to a much greater extent than we have done to-date—may be development of ethics guidelines tailored to our sub-field.
Irresponsible Radicalisation: Diasporas, Globalisation and Long-Distance Nationalism in the Digital Age
2012 Conversi, D. Journal
The growing scholarship on ethnic diasporas has prompted various off-shoots. Two significant directions are the relationship of diasporas with globalisation and their role in the expansion and radicalisation of ethnic conflict. The corporate enthusiasm of the 1990s for globalisation has been followed by sombre reflections on its destructive impact upon a vast array of areas, including inter-ethnic relations worldwide. This article explores one crucial aspect of this wave of disruption*the rapid expansion of radical forms of long-distance nationalism, often leading to a stress on maximalist goals and an abdication of responsibility. It conceptually distinguishes between stateless diasporas and diasporas that conceive themselves as tied to, and represented by, an existing ‘nationstate’. Examples include ethnic lobbies from the former Yugoslavia, greater Han xenophobia among overseas Chinese, and Hindutva technocratic chauvinism among Hindu-Americans. Finally, the article identifies the onset of ‘online mobbing’ or ‘cyber bullying’ as a new and ominous trend in Internet radicalism.
Parere n. 2014-3 sull’articolo 9 del progetto di legge mirante al rafforzamento delle disposizioni relative alla lotta contro il terrorismo
2014 Consiglio nazionale per il digitale Report
Il Consiglio nazionale per il digitale è stato interpellato riguardo all’articolo 9 del progetto di legge
mirante a rafforzare le disposizioni relative alla lotta contro il terrorismo. Tali disposizioni modificano
l’articolo 6 della Legge del 21 giugno 2004 intesa a promuovere la fiducia nell’economia digitale (LCEN),
prevedendo il blocco da parte dell’autorità amministrativa dei siti responsabili della diffusione di frasi o
immagini che incitano a commettere atti di terrorismo o ne fanno l’apologia. Esse ampliano altresì il
campo degli strumenti di notifica imposti ai provider.
Nell’intento di esprimere un parere il più possibile informato, il Consiglio nazionale per il digitale ha
proceduto ad una quindicina di audizioni che hanno riunito esperti di terrorismo (sociologi, giornalisti,
rappresentanti di associazioni), magistrati e avvocati specializzati nel settore, rappresentanti della
società civile, membri dei servizi di informazione e professionisti dell’ambito digitale (l’elenco completo è
disponibile in allegato).
Avis n°2014-3 sur l’article 9 du Projet de loi Renforçant les Dispositions Relatives à la Lutte Contre le Terrorisme
2014 Conseil national du numérique Report
Le Conseil national du numérique a été saisi le 25 juin 2014 de l’article 9 du projet de loi renforçant les
dispositions relatives à la lutte contre le terrorisme. Ces dispositions modifient l’article 6 de la loi du 21
juin 2004 pour la confiance dans l’économie numérique (LCEN) en prévoyant le blocage administratif des
sites diffusant des propos ou images provoquant à la commission d’actes terroristes ou en faisant
l’apologie. Elles élargissent également le champ des outils de notification imposés aux prestataires
techniques.
Afin de rendre un avis le plus éclairé possible dans le court délai imparti, le Conseil a procédé à une
quinzaine d’auditions, réunissant des experts du terrorisme (sociologues, journalistes, représentants
d’associations), de magistrats et avocats spécialisés, des représentants de la société civile, des
membres des services de renseignement et des professionnels du numérique (liste complète disponible
en annexe).
Women and Violent Radicalization
2016 Conseil du statut de la femme Report
As myths, stereotypes and media representations circulate about the several hundred Western women who have gone to Syria and joined the jihadists, it seems to us essential to try to understand the motives and explanatory factors behind the radicalization of these girls and women. What mechanisms and processes lead them to become radicalized and to join such groups?
Who are these women who radicalize to the point of risking their safety and well-being? Above all, how shall we understand the gender dimensions of the current phenomena of violent radicalization?

Until now, documentation of the radicalization of girls and women in Québec, with a gender-differentiated perspective, has been non-existent. We therefore decided that it was essential to do more than offer a summary document, by exploring empirically, across Québec, the radicalization of women who have joined, or tried to join, jihadist groups in Syria and Iraq.
Antisemetic content on Twitter
2018 Community Security Trust Report
This report presents an analysis of the
production and propagation of online
antagonistic content related to Jews
posted on Twitter between October 2015
and October 2016 in the UK.