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 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.


Full Listing

‘Don’t Talk to Me’: Effects of Ideologically Homogeneous Online Groups and Politically Dissimilar Offline Ties on Extremism
2010 Wojcieszak, M. Article
This study analyzes cross-sectional data obtained from respondents in neo-Nazi online discussion forums and textual data from postings to these forums. It assesses the impact of participation in radical and homogeneous online groups on opinion extremism and probes whether this impact depends on political dissimilarity of strong and weak offline ties. Specifically, does dissimilarity attenuate (as deliberative theorists hope) or rather exacerbate (as research on biased processing predicts) extreme opinions? As expected, extremism increases with increased online participation, likely due to the informational and normative influences operating within online groups. Supporting the deliberative and biased processing models, both like-minded and dissimilar social ties offline exacerbate extremism. Consistent with the biased processing model, dissimilar offline ties exacerbate the effects of online groups. The theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
Worldwide Online Jihad versus the Gaming Industry Reloaded – Ventures of the Web
2010 Prucha, N. Chapter
[Chapter in, "New Approaches to the Analysis of Jihadism: On and Offline", Rüdiger Lohlker (ed.)] Jihadism has been an important issue of public discussions since 9/11. Internet media have been used by Jihadis as means of communication, propaganda, recruitment, and even training purposes. In this volume, the processes of interaction on Jihadi internet sites are analysed. Particular attention lays on the mechanisms of spread of propaganda via the internet by diverse technical means. The process of transformation of Islamic knowledge into Jihadi knowledge, the rhetorics of videos, the development of South Asian Jihadi organisations and some conceptual issues are discussed.
Notes On The Jihadists’ Motivation For Suicide-Operations
2010 Prucha, N. Journal
Der Artikel bietet anhand der Rhetorik ausgewählter arabischer Quellen des Dschihad einen Einblick in die Motivation und die Definition sogenannter Glaubensbekenner-Operationen. Wesentlicher Bestandteil ist das Grundverständnis, dass solche Arten von Operationen rechtlich erlaubt sind und keinen Selbstmord darstellen. Diese Operationen werden von Gott im Jenseits belohnt und sind integraler historischer Teil der militärisch- operativen Vorgehensweise früher Muslime im Denken dschihadistischer Gelehrter, die diese Taktiken in die Gegenwart übertragen und entsprechend sanktionieren. Anhand der im Internet auf einschlägigen Foren und Webseiten veröffentlichten Interviews, Videos und Statements nach der Glaubensbekenner-Operation des palästinensisch-stämmigen Abu Dujana gegen eine von der CIA betriebene „Forward Operations Base“ in Khost, Afghanistan, wird der Artikel nach einem theoretischen Teil mit pragmatischen Argumenten durch die Dschihadisten abgeschlossen.
Blogs and Bullets: New Media in Contentious Politics
2010 United States Institute of Peace Report
In this report a team of scholars critically assesses both the “cyberutopian” and “cyberskeptic” perspectives on the impact of new media on political movements. The authors propose a more complex approach that looks at the role of new media in contentious politics from five interlocking levels of analysis: individual transformation, intergroup relations, collective action, regime policies, and external attention.
UNODC Digest Of Terrorist Cases
2010 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Policy
The judicial cases featured in this Digest cover relevant aspects of the international legal regime against terrorism. It provides a comparative analysis of national statutory frame- works for terrorism prosecutions, and it identifies legal issues and pitfalls encountered in investigating and adjudicating relevant offences. In addition, it identifies practices related to specialized investigative and prosecutorial techniques. It also addresses the links between terrorism and other forms of crime (like organized crime, the trafficking of drugs, people and arms), as well as how to disrupt terrorist financing.
Hate Speech or ‘Reasonable Racism’? The Other in Stormfront
2009 Meddaugh, P.M. and Kay, J. Journal
We use the construct of the “other” to explore how hate operates rhetorically within the virtual conclave of Stormfront, credited as the first hate Web site. Through the Internet, white supremacists create a rhetorical vision that resonates with those who feel marginalized by contemporary political, social, and economic forces. However, as compared to previous studies of on-line white supremacist rhetoric, we show that Stormfront discourse appears less virulent and more palatable to the naive reader. We suggest that Stormfront provides a “cyber transition” between traditional hate speech and “reasonable racism,” a tempered discourse that emphasizes pseudo- rational discussions of race, and subsequently may cast a wider net in attracting audiences.
Comparison of Visual Motifs in Jihadi and Cholo Videos on YouTube
2009 Weisburd, A.A. Journal
Homegrown Sunni extremists (jihadis) and Latin American street gang members (cholos) represent potential threats to national security. Both groups are known to inhabit the video- sharing website YouTube. Videos representative of each group were selected at random, and the visual motifs in the videos were categorized. Findings suggest similarities and differences between the two groups that may have significance for how practitioners address each threat, and for determining the likelihood that the two groups may begin to work in concert. The portraits that emerge of jihadis and cholos may assist in developing strategies to counter the violence perpetrated by each.
Radical Pluralism and Free Speech in Online Public Spaces: The Case of North Belgian Extreme Right Discourses
2009 Cammaerts, B. Journal
Progressive political movements and activists are not the only ones appropriating Web 2.0 as a way to construct independent public spaces and voice counter- hegemonic discourses. By looking at the other extreme of (post-)fascist movements, it will be shown that the internet also gives rise to anti-public spaces, voicing hatred and essentialist discourses. In this article, discourses of hate produced by North- Belgian (post-)fascist movements and activists will be analysed. Theoretically the analysis is informed by radical pluralism and the limits of freedom of speech in a strong democracy. The cases presented challenge the limits of freedom of speech and of radical pluralism and bring us to question whether being a racist is a democratic right, whether freedom of speech includes opinions and views that challenge basic democratic values.
Exploring “Stormfront”: A Virtual Community of the Radical Right
2009 Bowman-Grieve, L. Article
In considering how terrorist movements use the Internet, it is becoming increasingly apparent that we must move beyond predominantly descriptive overviews of the contents of websites to examine in more detail the notion of virtual communities of support and the functions of these for their members. Virtual communities in support of terrorist movements are real social spaces where people interact on a regular basis to disseminate their views, share their knowledge, and encourage each other to become increasingly supportive of movements that use terrorism to achieve their goals. Taken from a larger body of comparative qualitative research investigating the content and function of discourses created in virtual communities in support of terrorism, this article presents a thematic analysis of “Stormfront,” a virtual community of the radical right.
Exploring Stormfront: A Virtual Community of the Radical Right
2009 Bowman-Grieve, L. Journal
In considering how terrorist movements use the Internet, it is becoming increasingly apparent that we must move beyond predominantly descriptive overviews of the contents of websites to examine in more detail the notion of virtual communities of support and the functions of these for their members. Virtual communities in support of terrorist movements are real social spaces where people interact on a regular basis to disseminate their views, share their knowledge, and encourage each other to become increasingly supportive of movements that use terrorism to achieve their goals. Taken from a larger body of comparative qualitative research investigating the content and function of discourses created in virtual communities in support of terrorism, this article presents a thematic analysis of “Stormfront,” a virtual community of the radical right.
The Next Generation of Terror
2009 Sageman, M. Article
The world's most dangerous jihadists no longer answer to al Qaeda. The terrorists we should fear most are self-recruited wannabes who find purpose in terror and comrades on the Web. This new generation is even more frightening and unpredictable than its predecessors, but its evolution just may reveal the key to its demise.
Dimensions in Countering Ideological Support for Terrorism
2009 Cross, S. Report
Summary Report on conference organized by the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Cooperation with the Royal Jordanian National Defence College.
The Dark Side of the Web: Italian Right-Wing Extremist Groups and the Internet
2009 Caiani, M. and Parenti, L. Article
Focusing on extreme-right organisations in Italy, this article addresses the specific use of the Internet by extremist groups and its potential role for the formation of collective identity, organisational contacts and mobilisation. The analysis includes both political parties and non-party organisations, even violent groups. Through the combination of Social Network Analysis (SNA) of web linkages amongst approximately 100 organisations, with a formalised content analysis of those websites, we argue that various forms of usage of the Internet by right-wing organisations are indeed on the rise,
with an increase not only in the number of extremist websites but also in the exploitation of the Internet for diffusing propaganda, promoting ‘virtual communities’ of debate, fundraising, and organising and mobilising political campaigns. The various specificities of the usage of the Internet by extreme right organisations are demonstrated and linked to offline reality.
Combining Social Network Analysis and Sentiment Analysis to Explore the Potential for Online Radicalisation
2009 Bermingham, A., Conway, M., McInerney, L., O’Hare, N. and Smeaton, A.F. Article
The increased online presence of jihadists has raised the possibility of individuals being radicalised via the Internet. To date, the study of violent radicalisation has focused on dedicated jihadist websites and forums. This may not be the ideal starting point for such research, as participants in these venues may be described as “already madeup minds”. Crawling a global social networking platform, such as YouTube, on the other hand, has the potential to unearth content and interaction aimed at radicalisation of those with little or no apparent prior interest in violent jihadism. This research explores whether such an approach is indeed fruitful. We collected a large dataset from a group within YouTube that we identified as potentially having a radicalising agenda. We analysed this data using social network analysis and sentiment analysis tools, examining the topics discussed and what the sentiment polarity (positive or negative) is towards these topics. In particular, we focus on gender differences in this group of users, suggesting most extreme and less tolerant views among female users.
Iraqi Insurgents' Use Of Youtube As A Strategic Communication Tool: An Exploratory Content Analysis
2009 Rheanna, R. PhD Thesis
This dissertation study is a baseline investigation into Iraqi insurgents' use of YouTube as a strategic communication tool. The study utilized a content analysis of videos from October 28, 2008, to December 1, 2008, for the search term 'Iraqi resistance' on YouTube that met stated criteria. Overall framing devices and themes found in the collection of videos were examined. While not a random sample, the collection of videos was selected as a representation of the overall population of Iraqi insurgent videos for the time frame examined. Along with a more open interpretation of frames, the study examined those which may be used to recruit and/or send anti-U.S. sentiment. It builds upon previous research in related areas and applies theory with a focus on Social Identity, Diffusion of Innovation, Cultivation, and Framing in an attempt to explore the phenomenon. The methodological design establishes a baseline for future comparison and study since the topic of Iraqi insurgents' use of YouTube has yet to be examined extensively in the academic arena. Overall, there were 54 videos that met set criteria examined for this study. Of these, most were documentary attacks. While there were 28 Iraqi insurgent groups represented in the videos, only 4 Iraqi insurgent groups were identified in five or more videos. These were Islamic State of Iraq (25.9%, n=14), Iraqi Resistance (24.2%, n=13), Ansar al-Islam (18.5%, n=10), and Jaish al-Mujahideen (13%, n=7). Two of these four groups have a media arm devoted to creating their video content and acting as a media representative to the public and members of the group. There was not a large difference in quality or appeals used between groups with and without a media arm. Analysis of the data suggested Iraqi insurgent groups are using YouTube to recruit and send Anti-U.S. sentiment. There was a presence of several framing devices some of which included religious, nationalistic, anti-U.S., intimidation, and defenses. Overall, videos in the sample had a large presence of violence depicted, especially against U.S. military members.
Detection And Monitoring Of Improvised Explosive Device Education Networks Through The World Wide Web
2009 Stinson, R.T. MA Thesis
As the information age comes to fruition, terrorist networks have moved mainstream by promoting their causes via the World Wide Web. In addition to their standard rhetoric, these organizations provide anyone with an Internet connection the ability to access dangerous information involving the creation and implementation of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Unfortunately for governments combating terrorism, IED education networks can be very difficult to find and even harder to monitor. Regular commercial search engines are not up to this task, as they have been optimized to catalog infor mation quickly and e fficiently for user ease of access while promoting retail commerce at the same time. This thesis presents a performance analysis of a new search engine algorithm designed to help find IED education networks using the Nutch open-source search engine architecture. It reveals which web pages are more important via references from other web pages regardless of domain. In addition, this thesis discusses the potential evaluation and monitoring techniques to be used in conjunction with the proposed algorithm.
The Internet Rhetoric of the Ku Klux Klan: A Case Study in Web Site Community Building Run Amok
2009 Bostdorff, D.M. Journal
Many scholars have praised the Internet as a locale where positive community building takes place. Conversely,this study examines 23 KKK web sites as an exemplar of how groups may engage in community building of a most egregious sort. Through appeals to white masculinity and, on some web sites, segmented appeals to women and to youth and children, Klan web sites attempt to create community that is unified by its opposition to minority groups, particularly Jews. The angry style of Klan discourse, which is compatible with the rhetorical conventions of the Web, discourages dissenting points of view while inflaming potential supporters. Moreover,Klan rhetoric on the Web encourages odious political activity, including acts of violence, at the same time that Klan web sites disavow responsibility for the consequences of their messages.
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.
Assessing Perceived Credibility Of Websites In A Terrorism Context
2009 Spinks, B.T. PhD Thesis
The purpose of the study was to contribute to the overall understanding of terrorist organizations' use of the Internet and to increase researchers' knowledge of Web site effectiveness. The methodological approach was the evaluation of the perceived credibility of Web sites based on existing criteria derived from information users. The Web sites of four terrorist organizations were assessed: two secular nationalist groups, the People's Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE or Tamil Tigers); and two religious nationalist groups, Hamas and Hezbollah. The findings of this analysis showed differences in perceived credibility factors among terrorist organizations' Web sites and positive levels of perceived credibility for the Web sites. These findings indicate the potential for positive impressions of the organizations' Web sites by information users, which would help empower the organizations with the capacity to reach their objectives. By using Web sites, these groups can effectively increase their support base through disseminating information, improving recruiting, and attracting monetary contributions, and can establish themselves as legitimate components of society.
Relocating the Virtual War
2009 Ramsay, G. Journal
Countering Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups’ use of the Internet for both organizational purposes and the dissemination of radical propaganda has frequently been conceptualized in terms of a war in a virtual space. This assumption has led to a distorted understanding of how the Internet is relevant to terrorism, and what methods are appropriate for addressing this. In particular, it has led to an overemphasis on action by governments ‘on’ the Internet. This entails moving the ‘fight’ into a terrain in which it cannot easily be won. Better strategies for counteracting the benefits terrorists draw from the Internet might proceed from instead drawing on governments’ overwhelmingly greater power over matter and physical space, and their ability to shape agendas across the complete spectrum of media.