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
Digital Terrorism and Hate 2012: The Power of Social Networking in the Digital Age
2012 Abraham, R. and Rick Eaton, C. Report
Analysis of 'digital terrorism' and hate on the Internet
New Approaches to the Analysis of Jihadism: Online and Offline
2012 Lohlker, R. Report
This volume is a result of a research project at the University of Vienna (Austria). The project “Jihadism online” aims at a multi-dimensional analysis of online presence of the transnational tendency often called Jihadism.
The Use of the Internet for Terrorist Purposes
2012 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Policy
Terrorism, in all its manifestations, affects us all. The use of the Internet to further terrorist purposes disregards national borders, amplifying the potential impact on victims. By highlighting cases and best practices that respond to this unique challenge, the present publication has two aims: first, to promote a better understanding of the ways in which communications technologies may be misused in furtherance of acts of terrorism and, second, to increase collaboration among Member States, so that effective criminal justice responses to this transnational challenge can be developed.
The Chosen: An Examination Of Extremist Muslim Narratives, Discourse And Ideologies In Cyberspace
2011 SAIFUDEEN, O.A. PhD Thesis
This thesis examines extremist Muslim narratives, discourse, and ideologies over the internet by using content analysis to thematically delineate and reconstruct them for the purpose of discovering the argumentation mechanisms through which they become persuasive and appealing. The research problem is that dominant theories in social sciences and popular literature create 'taken for granted' inferences that relegate extremist ideologies and narratives to the realm of structural contingencies, psychological pathologies, emotive appeal, manipulated religious ideologies, peculiar and unique rationalities or group dynamics. This thesis hypothesizes instead of the existence of a `logical structure` in extremist Muslim narratives. This logical structure is predicated on rationally persuasive arguments (which employ epistemic and instrumental rationality coupled with inductive/deductive reasoning) that appeal to any rational individual but are ultimately leveraged on for morally wrong end-state choices. Unfortunately much of the counter-narratives today seldom address this logical structure and choose to address the more traditional explanations cited above. Themes and argumentation mechanisms stemming from an examination of extremist Muslim narratives in this study demonstrate the presence and workings of this logical structure.
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.
Inside the EDL: Populist Politics in a Digital Age
2011 Bartlett, J. and Littler, M. Report
The English Defence League (EDL) is the biggest populist street movement in a generation. Yet the make-up of the group and what its members believe remain a mystery because it has no formal joining procedures or membership list and much of its activity takes place online. The collection of large amounts of data from social media presents new opportunities for social research to understand the relationship between off- and online activity. As more movements combine – and blur – virtual and real protest, these questions will become increasingly urgent and important. These surveys, collected through Facebook using a new methodology, offer new ways forward in exploring this challenge.
Consuming the Jihad: An Enquiry into the Subculture of Internet Jihadism
2011 Ramsay, G. PhD Thesis
Recent years have seen a great deal of interest in phenomena such as Al Qaida ‘terrorism’, Islamic ‘radicalism’ or, increasingly, ‘jihadism’ - on the Internet. However, as I argue in this thesis, much work in these areas has been problematic for a number of reasons. Much literature has been narrowly focused on the security issues which it pre-judges the content to raise, and has therefore taken some aspects too literally while ignoring others. Conversely, where authors have addressed ‘jihadi’ content or ‘electronic jihad’ as a phenomenon unto itself, they have had difficulty making sense of it within religious studies or political communication frameworks. In this dissertation, I propose an alternative approach. Deliberately eschewing frameworks based on pre-existing conceptions of religion or politics, I draw, instead, on the academic literature on fandom and subcultural media consumption. Using this conceptual lens, I attempt to analyse jihadism on the Internet (which I define in terms of online consumption of, and identification with self-described ‘jihadi’ content) as a subcultural phenomenon on its own terms. I argue that, without necessarily denying the role that beliefs and ideals expressed in ‘jihadi’ content may sometimes have in sustaining the physical violence of the ‘global jihad’, the cultural practices which constitute Internet jihadism have a tactical logic of their own which may not always coincide with the ‘strategic’ interests of ‘global jihad’. By better understanding what ‘ordinary’ jihadis, most of whom will never participate in violence, get out of their practices, and how they negotiate the apparent contradictions of their situation, I suggest that we may be better placed to understand not only why some jihadis ‘fail’ to negotiate these contradictions, but also, perhaps, to raise questions about how popular media consumption works more generally.
As American as Apple Pie: How Anwar al-Awlaki Became the Face of Western Jihad
2011 Meleagrou-Hitchens, A. Report
CSR is pleased to announce the release of its newest report, As American As Apple Pie: How Anwar al-Awlaki Became the Face of Western Jihad, by Research Fellow Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens. This study provides the first forensic analysis of Anwar al-Awlaki’s work, which tracks his ideological path from a supposedly moderate preacher to an al-Qaeda recruiter.
Internet Radicalization: Actual Threat Or Phantom Menace?
2012 Michael, M. J. MA Thesis
Popular opinion expresses fear that accessing radical Islamic content and connecting with extremist networks through Internet functionalities causes radicalization and recruitment to commit terrorist acts. Anecdotal evidence has been used to support this assertion. The opinion assumes the Internet creates a new path that drives radicalization and recruitment. Whether computer-mediated communication (CMC) and Internet functionalities cause individuals to radicalize has not been thoroughly studied. This thesis explores whether a correlation can be found to attribute radicalization to radicalizing content and extremist networks accessed through CMC and Internet functionalities. A framework is used to evaluate vulnerabilities identified by the psychological, sociological and social-psychological elements of radicalization against the radicalization process, personal history, and the presence of radicalizing conventional communication and extremist contact. The analysis finds three cases that may support a conclusion that Internet radicalization is possible; however, the importance of root causes and individual vulnerabilities may have a greater impact. Since some circumstances involving CMC may increase the likelihood of radicalization, the fear of Internet radicalization may be reasonable, but the number of incidents validating that fear makes the threat unlikely and appears more like a phantom menace than a real threat.
Countering Violent Extremism: Scientific Methods and Strategies
2011 Fenstermacher, L. Report
This report represents a distillation of current Social, Behavioural and Economic research findings on violent extremism: What is the cultural basis for violent extremism and radicalization? What motivates individuals and groups to violence, and how is that risk measured? How does our understanding of these findings educate the mitigation of extremism? Can it be prevented or reversed? These and other topics are outlined here to open a forward-looking dialog in the research and policy community that will be crucial to formulating future research direction and for addressing this pressing national concern.
Facebook jihad: A case study of recruitment discourses and strategies targeting a Western female
2011 Torok, R. Article
Recent years has seen a trend towards the increasing specificity of recruitment targets for global jihad. This paper is a case study of the discourses used to recruit a Western female who originally subscribed to an antigovernment, anti-New World Order ideology. Categorising using grounded theory analysis found that female recruiters tapped into the interest of their target subject and then shifted her towards sympathy and commitment to radical Islam. This was achieved through media saturation of Western aggression against Muslims coupled with an ideology that promotes the need to fight and resist. Subject material to which the recruit was directed was carefully controlled and initially deemphasized the Qur’an in favour of mujahedeen narratives and the teachings of Anwar al-Awlaki. Overall, the research supported a sophisticated narrowcasting strategy that was carefully developed primarily by female recruiters.
Empowering Local Partners To Prevent Violent Extremism In The United States
2011 The White House Policy
United States Strategy for Countering Violent Extremism Strategy 2011
4chan and /b/: An Analysis of Anonymity and Ephemerality in a Large Online Community
2011 Bernstein, M.S., Monroy-Hernández, A., Harry, D., André, P., Panovich, K. and Vargas, G. Article
We present two studies of online ephemerality and anonymity based on the popular discussion board /b/ at 4chan.org: a website with over 7 million users that plays an influential role in Internet culture. Although researchers and practitioners often assume that user identity and data permanence are central tools in the design of online communities, we explore how /b/ succeeds despite being almost entirely anonymous and extremely ephemeral. We begin by describing /b/ and performing a content analysis that suggests the community is dominated by playful exchanges of images and links. Our first study uses a large dataset of more than five million posts to quantify ephemerality in /b/. We find that most threads spend just five seconds on the first page and less than five minutes on the site before expiring. Our second study is an analysis of identity signals on 4chan, finding that over 90% of posts are made by fully anonymous users, with other identity signals adopted and discarded at will. We describe alternative mechanisms that /b/ participants use to establish status and frame their interactions.
Youth Online and at Risk: Radicalisation Facilitated by the Internet
2011 Royal Canadian Mounted Police Report
While the internet provides access to rich educational experiences, great entertainment, and the chance to connect with friends around the clock, it also creates a number of risks that young people, parents, and guardians need to be aware of. There are the commonly known concerns of identity theft, online predators, and cyber-bullying but there is another issue that we need to collectively work to address— Radicalisation to violence. This informational resource strives to increase the awareness of how the internet is being used to radicalise and recruit youth in North America.
Identification And Ranking Of Critical Assets Within An Electrical Grid Under Threat Of Cyber Attack
2011 Boyer, B. R. MA Thesis
This paper examines the ranking of critical assets within an electrical grid under threat of cyber attack. Critical to this analysis is the assumption of zero hour exploits namely, the threat of an immediate attack as soon as a vulnerability is discovered. Modeling shows that over time load fluctuations as well as other system variations will change the importance of each asset in the delivery of bulk power. As opposed to classic stability studies where risk can be shown to be greatest during high load periods, the zero hour exploit-cyber-risk assumes that vulnerabilities will be attacked as soon as they are discovered. The probability of attacks is made uniform over time to include any and all possible attacks. Examining the impact of an attack and how the grid reacts immediately following an attack will identify and determine the criticality of each asset. This work endeavors to fulfill the NERC Critical Infrastructure Protection Requirements CIP-001-1 through CIP-009-2, cyber security requirements for the reliable supply of bulk power to customers throughout North America.
Online Territories of Terror: Utilizing the Internet for Jihadist Endeavors
2011 Prucha, N. Journal
An introduction to Jihadism online
A Typology of Lone Wolves: Preliminary Analysis of Lone Islamist Terrorists
2011 Pantucci, R. Report
The troublesome question of how and whether to consider what are commonly referred to as Lone Wolf terrorists within the broader roster of terrorist groups is something that has regularly confounded security analysts for a variety of reasons. This article attempts to create some sort of typology to start to define the group, with specific reference to the instances of Lone Wolves (or Lone Wolf Packs, an admittedly paradoxical choice of words that is defined in the article as small, isolated groups of individuals involved in terrorism) who claim to adhere to an extremist Islamist ideology. The article offers four subsets to the definition, drawing upon a detailed analysis of a variety of different plots in Europe and North America: Loner, Lone Wolf, Lone Wolf Pack, and Lone Attacker. The purpose of the article is to offer some preliminary thoughts on the issue of Lone Wolves, and start a process towards deeper understanding and closer analysis of the phenomenon. This is of particular salience given the frequency with which security analysts cite the phenomenon as a threat and the increasing way in which Al Qaeda ideologues refer to it.
White Hoods And Keyboards: An Examination Of The Klan And Ku Klux Klan Websites
2011 Selepak, A.G. PhD Thesis
The Ku Klux Klan is the oldest and most well-known extremist group in the United States with a history dating back nearly 150 years. The Klan has been featured in numerous movies, books, documentaries, and been the center of countless news stories. But, in recent years, the Ku Klux Klan has been all but forgotten by researchers who believed the Klan was a dying organization with a nearly extinct membership of individuals who could not accept the end of segregation and the Klan‟s defeat during the Civil Rights Movement. But, recent research by the Southern Poverty Law Center shows the Klan is not extinct, nor is the Klan dying. Instead, the Ku Klux Klan is growing with new members joining across the country and the world. Research has shown the recent growth in membership has been caused by the election of the first black President of the United States, a poor economy and high unemployment, and an increase in the minority population of the United States brought on by immigration. In addition, research has suggested the growth in groups like the Ku Klux Klan has been caused by an increase in the number of Ku Klux Klan web sites on the Internet. This study used grounded theory and a mixed-method approach to examine the proliferation of Klan web sites and to achieve a better understanding of the Ku Klux Klan and its recent rise in membership. Using content analysis of current Klan web sites and in-depth interviews with current Klan leaders, this study examined the beliefs of the Ku Klux Klan, the purpose of the Ku Klux Klan in the 21st Century, why the Klan creates and maintains web sites, and examined the membership of the Ku Klux Klan. Based on analysis of Klan web sites and interviews with Klan leaders, Ku Klux Klan beliefs fall under two general themes. First, the Klan believes white Christians are held to a double standard and not allowed to have pride in their culture and heritage, while at the same time treated unfairly by the media, society, and the government. Second, the Klan believes in racial separation, and the need for whites to either remove themselves from a society perceived as against them or to combat that society through political and legal involvement. Results suggest the Klan creates web sites not for the sole purpose of recruit, but instead, to inform the general public of the Klan‟s goals to combat a double standard in society, and to market the Klan to greater segment of the American population, by using the Internet to rebrand the image of the Klan as an organization dedicated to preserving white, American, and Christian culture. In addition, results indicate no one group exists that can claim the title of “Ku Klux Klan.” Instead, this study found a variety of Klan organizations exist with competing ideologies and beliefs. Using a mixed-methods approach of incorporating quantitative and qualitative data, this study found two types of Klan organizations exist. One Klan is a traditional fraternal organization, while the other is a more radical and extremist organization intent on becoming a paramilitary organization, church or political party. Members of the Klan were generally observed to be average American citizens with families. More specifically, Klan members were revealed to be white, politically and religiously conservative Christians, many of whom were military veterans and owned their own business, and in general were opposed to a changing world and changing American society.
The Women of Stormfront: An Examination of White Nationalist Discussion Threads on the Internet
2011 Castle, T. and Chevalier, M. Journal
Although a plethora of literature exists on hate or extremist group activity, the role of racist women remains an unexplored area. The current study sought to explore one method of communication for racist women, the Internet. The researchers conducted a content analysis on 227 discussion threads provided on one of the oldest extremist websites on the Internet, Stormfront. The purpose of this study was to investigate the content of the discussion threads described as ‘For Stormfront Ladies Only.’ Of primary interest to the researchers was whether the content discussed by women in this ‘White Nationalist’ cyber community supported the assertion by some scholars that the role of women in racist activities is undergoing a transformation and the implications of this study in that regard are discussed.
European Regulation of Cross-Border Hate Speech in Cyberspace: The Limits of Legislation
2011 Banks, J. Journal
This article examines the complexities of regulating hate speech on the Internet through legal frameworks. It demonstrates the limitations of unilateral national content legislation and the difficulties inherent in multilateral efforts to regulate the Internet. The article highlights how the US commitment to free speech has undermined European efforts to construct a truly international regulatory system. It is argued that a broad coalition of citizens, industry and government, employing technological, educational and legal frameworks, may offer the most effective approach through which to limit the effects of hate speech originating from outside of European borders.