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Online Radicalization: Contested Terms and Conceptual Clarity / Stuart Macdonald; Joe Whittaker

Online Terrorist Propaganda, Recruitment, and Radicalization

Swansea University Authors: Stuart, Macdonald, Joe, Whittaker

Abstract

National governments and international governmental organisations have identified online radicalisation as one of today’s most pressing security challenges. It is thus unsurprising that there is a burgeoning literature on the topic. Within this literature, use of the terms “radicalisation”, “self-ra...

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Published in: Online Terrorist Propaganda, Recruitment, and Radicalization
ISBN: 9781315170251
Published: Boca Raton CRC Press 2019
Online Access: https://doi.org/10.1201/9781315170251
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa45970
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Abstract: National governments and international governmental organisations have identified online radicalisation as one of today’s most pressing security challenges. It is thus unsurprising that there is a burgeoning literature on the topic. Within this literature, use of the terms “radicalisation”, “self-radicalisation”, “online radicalisation” and “echo chamber” is common. Also common is the tendency for those who use these terms to assume that their meanings are self-evident. In this chapter we seek to show that this is not in fact the case. The chapter begins by explaining why conceptual clarity is important. It then examines each of the four terms in turn, showing that, even though the terms can be – and indeed are – understood in different ways, there is a tendency to assume that there is a shared understanding of what each term means. The chapter explains the problems to which this lack of conceptual clarity gives rise and concludes by suggesting some directions for future research that will advance understanding of the role the internet plays in contemporary violent extremism.
Keywords: Terrorism, counterterrorism, radicalization, online radicalization, self-radicalization, echo chamber
College: Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law