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This chapter analyses a set of keywords which were used to refer to ‘Us’, that is the author of the text and the social group that they belong to, which includes the reader as a potential member of that group. The keywords examined in this chapter are Islam, Allah, Muslim, brothers, believers, Ummah and you. The chapter introduces the reader to the main method of analysis which involves identification of representation surrounding each keyword via grammatical patterns through the corpus analysis tool Sketch Engine.
This chapter functions as a literature review, beginning with a summary of some of the terminological issues surrounding the study of terrorism. This is followed by an overview of theorisations of terrorism as communication, that is, the theory that violent acts are communicative. We then discuss not the practices and (verbal) expressions related to clandestine violence undertaken by terrorist individuals or groups. We explore some of the findings from previous research relating to the patterns in terrorists’ words and communicative strategies. We then turn to violent jihadist discourse specifically considering issues around polarised language and its relation to grievance-based discourse, the creation of shared identity, intertextual use of historical and theoretical texts and evocation of authority. We conclude by suggesting why the dearth of research on terrorist discourse poses problems for the creation of viable counter-terrorism measures.
In this chapter, the focus remains on language but moves away from representations around particular words to instead consider the ways in which specific types of language are used as persuasive devices in themselves. Here, we take another meaning of discourse, one which relates to the concept of register, text-type or genre and involves issues relating to stylistic choice. We thus explore some of the specific linguistic strategies that authors use in the data in order to highlight how these might contribute to the legitimacy or persuasiveness of the extremist discourse. We examine keywords that index formal register, as well as those connected to the concepts of truth and quotation. This is followed by a consideration of how code-switching into Arabic is employed in the texts.
This chapter examines the language around harm, focussing on keywords related to the category of violence: jihad, kill, martrydom and paradise. We identify the frequent use of a religious journey metaphor which extremist writers have taken from the Qur’an and reworked to justify killing. A key stage on this path then, is the conceptualisation of jihad as literal fighting and as obligatory, desired by Allah and in is his name. Three representations around killing help to position Muslims as victims, giving a justification for killing civilians, and helping to assuage fears around losing one’s own life as the result of engaging in violent attacks, again by invoking Allah’s authority and approval. Violence is cast as heroic martyrdom and justified as occurring within the context of a war.
This chapter gives an account of our data and method, specifically outlining how we collected and prepared the texts containing extremist language that are the subject of this book, along with the different tools and techniques that were used for analysis. The chapter then carries out preliminary analyses of the data, using Biber’s multidimensional approach before moving on to describe a methodology called Corpus Assisted Discourse Studies (CADS) which involves a collection of approaches that are united by their use of software to identify linguistic patterns in large, electronically-encoded sets of data. We also describe how we obtained and classified keywords across the three sub-corpora which were used as the basis of focussing our analysis on a manageable set of lexical items.
This chapter acts as a counter-point to the previous one, in that it also deals with how social actors are represented, but this time we look at those who are viewed as part of the out-group as opposed to the in-group, considering how the in-group use language to carry out ‘othering’ of the out-group. We examine how strategies of collectivisation, stereotyping, dehumanisation and separation are linguistically realised by examining the following keywords: kufr, disbelief, kuffar, disbeliever, America and evil.
In this concluding chapter we begin by reviewing our research questions, first by looking at differences between the Extreme, Fringe and Moderate texts, then by considering the aspects of language use that were frequently used to manipulate readers into accepting the ideology of violent jihad. Following these two sections we consider the implications of our findings for work aimed at creating and disseminating counter-discourses to extremism. We then reflect on the study itself in terms of the limitations and difficulties encountered, and consider how our work could be expanded in the future.
This chapter introduces the concepts that are central to the book, beginning with a discussion of the terms language, ideology, discourse and representation and then providing context around the concept of violent jihad. The chapter also introduces the data analysed in this book and considers their power to persuade people to carry out violence.
How do violent jihadists use language to try to persuade people to carry out violent acts? This book analyses over two million words of texts produced by violent jihadists to identify and examine the linguistic strategies employed. Taking a mixed methods approach, the authors combine quantitative methods from corpus linguistics, which allows the identification of frequent words and phrases, alongside close reading of texts via discourse analysis. The analysis compares language use across three sets of texts: those which advocate violence, those which take a hostile but non-violent standpoint, and those which take a moderate perspective, identifying the different uses of language associated with different stages of radicalization. The book also discusses how strategies including use of Arabic, romanisation, formal English, quotation, metaphor, dehumanisation and collectivisation are used to create in- and out-groups and justify violence.
This chapter analyzes traditions of staging the plays from the beginning of the twentieth century, spanning a period from the Boer Wars until the postcolonial wars of the present. It considers not only ways of depicting fighting and battles, but also perspectives on the morality of war created by Shakespeare and his directors. During this period, post-Victorian pictorial realism and historical “accuracy” survived in cinema, but in the theater they gave way to non-illusionistic and unlocalized sets as companies turned their attention from “history” to politics. This did not mean that spectacle diminished: shocking savagery and violence could be graphically represented, but pageants of royal and aristocratic grandeur along with appeals to patriotism sustained by providence were set against vignettes of common life – no longer “comic relief” but ironic touchstones that detected processes of chauvinism, huffing rhetoric, and heroic posturing as families, factions, and nations tore themselves apart.
Chapter 10 continues the theme of royal inaugurations as a process, covering the events immediately following on from a ruler’s enthronement to his first few years on the throne. Having been awarded a royal title did not inure a king against challenges and rivals. It normally took about 3–4 years before a ruler’s grip on power was secure. Successful rulers were those who overcame challenges during these years, while those who failed might either be disposed or replaced, or struggle to assert their authority fully across the realm. Key to success was a new king’s ability to demonstrate that he abided by the normative framework of royal power. He ruled for the common good, not for private gain. Yet what did this mean in practice? How could he win over those opposed to his kingship, erstwhile competitors and disappointed nobles? What was the role of the his subjects during these first few years? How could they seek to shape the governance of the realm? What was the role of force, and how did it relate to the doing of justice? How could generosity be balanced with equity? How did rulers deal with acts of disruption and dispute?
While Henry V is alive with religious echoes, its moral direction seems incoherent or unstable. Accordingly, the focus of this account is the way the play’s use of religion paradoxically intensifies and legitimates the pleasures of war. The chapter aims to explain not only how the sacral monarchy of England’s Plantagenet kings lives on in Shakespeare’s play but more importantly how in instrumentalizing it and its complex political theology, the prince outdoes his royal predecessors and the play aestheticizes war. It does this by enabling Henry to appropriate the dynamism and sheer agency imagined in Scripture’s representation of God’s freedom. The king comes out of a whirlwind and his army appears as Leviathan – all apparently in the service of the new national community. While Henry V is insistently skeptical about the value of war, its delight in the king’s virtù or violent agency complicates the irony and so denies the play any clear-cut moral critique.
It is striking how many of Shakespeare’s erotic plays have war either as their setting or are born out of a recent state of violent conflict. Troilus and Cressida and Antony and Cleopatra fall most clearly into the former camp, but think also of comedies like Much Ado About Nothing and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, where eros emerges from a newly forged peace only to constitute a new battleground of its own. This chapter probes the conjunction of war and eros that appears in almost half of Shakespeare’s plays, first through a broad survey of his corpus and then through studies of The Two Noble Kinsmen, Troilus and Cressida, and Romeo and Juliet. It argues that, far from merely contingent, theatrical conjunctions, Shakespeare provides us a deep conceptual study of the connection between eros and violence, both the potential violence of sexuality and the unsettling underlying sexuality of war.
Transformations in state violence are intimately associated with technological capacity. Like previous era-defining technologies, global digital networks have changed state violence. Offensive cyber capabilities (OCCs) appear to constitute a major technological development that offers the potential for reducing state violence. This article asks: are OCCs really the better angels of our digital nature? Current scholarship in strategic studies, adopting a narrow definition of violence, conceives of OCCs as largely non-violent. This ignores how technology has given rise to new forms of harm to individuals and communities, particularly in the context of violent state repression. We propose using an expanded definition of violence, including affective and community harms, and argue that OCCs relocate, rather than reduce, state violence towards non-bodily harms. Even though their lethal effects are limited, OCCs are not, as is supposed, a non-violent addition to state arsenals. This conclusion has important implications for international affairs, including re-orienting defensive cybersecurity efforts and altering calculations around the perception of OCCs by adversaries.
This chapter examines the trajectory of a research project on militant organizations’ adaptation that began as a “classic” case comparison and was “re-cased” into an explicitly network-based comparison of intra-organizational networks. In doing so, it outlines a method of comparison focused primarily on roles, relations, and emergence rather than on organizational form or behavior. The chapter starts by discussing the project’s initial research design, which proposed a study of militant organizations across three Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon that largely adhered to Millian logic. The project dedicated extensive research time to establishing a pre-invasion “control” by seeking to demonstrate pre-shock organizational uniformity across the communities under study. However, the evidence gathered often complicated or contradicted logics of control, independence, causality, and identification that undergird dominant approaches to comparison. Rather, it repeatedly indicated that complex, relational, often contingent interactions among geographic environment, communities’ interpretations of violence, and organizational structures influenced outcomes of interest. The chapter leverages this experience to establish core tenets of a broader approach to studying organizational change in comparative perspective.
Proponents of nonviolent tactics often highlight the extent to which they rival arms as effective means of resistance. Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan, for instance, compare civil resistance favorably to armed insurrection as means of bringing about progressive political change. In Ethics, Security, and the War-Machine, Ned Dobos cites their work in support of the claim that similar methods—organized according to Gene Sharp's idea of “civilian-based defense”—may be substituted for regular armed forces in the face of international aggression. I deconstruct this line of pacifist thought by arguing that it builds on the wrong binary. Turning away from a violence-nonviolence dichotomy structured around harmfulness, I look to Richard B. Gregg and Hannah Arendt for an account of nonviolent power defined by non-coercion. Whereas nonviolent coercion in the wrong hands still has the potential to subvert democratic institutions—just as armed methods can—Gregg's and Arendt's conceptions of nonviolent power identify a necessary bulwark against both forms of subversion. The dangers of nonviolent coercion can be seen in the largely nonviolent attempts at civil subversion by supporters of Donald Trump during Trump's attempts to overturn the results of the U.S. presidential election in 2020, while the effectiveness of noncoercive, nonviolent power is illustrated by the resistance of U.S. democratic institutions to resist them.
Given the deterrent effects of transnational repression and conflict transmission in the United States and Britain before 2011, what brought anti-regime Libyans, Syrians, and Yemenis together for the Arab Spring? Chapter 4 describes how the Arab Spring mobilized members of the anti-regime diaspora by upending the normative operation and effects of transnational repression and conflict transmission in the diaspora. The Arab Spring did so by reducing the costs of activism, making members willing to take risks, and creating new solidarities against common threats. The extent to which diaspora groups experienced these quotidian disruptions determined whether or not they converted preexisting organizations to the cause and maintained solidarity over time.
This chapter develops the workhorse model we explore throughout the book. We begin by substantively motivating many aspects of competitive violence: the marketplace has limited resources, violence is costly but increases a group’s share of those resources, opposing violence decreases one’s own share, and others. These components lead us to conclude that a "contest" model is ideal to study the implications of competition. Doing so allows us to recover a central implication from existing theories of outbidding: that more groups imply more total violence output. However, our model concludes that outbidding is a collective effect rather than an individual one. Even as total violence increases in group numbers, the per-group rate of violence drops. These central results are robust to a variety of alternative assumptions.
We directly assess the empirical evidence of the propositions derived in the previous chapter. First, we conduct a large-n analysis of terrorist violence in every country between 1970 and 2015. We then examine whether there is a relationship between the number of active militant groups in a state and the aggregate amount of violence. We find evidence to support the basic outbidding hypothesis: more militant groups are significantly associated with more violence at the state level. We subsequently analyze the effect of increasing numbers of groups on per group violence. In accordance with our model expectations, we find that while increasing competition appears to lead to more violence overall, per group violence declines on average. Finally, to more fully explore the causal mechanisms at work in this process, we examine in detail the multi-dimensional insurgency in Northeast India since 2009. We find that as aggregate violence in the country and the region increased, groups curtailed their own use of violence due to concerns over diminishing returns and increased costs.
This chapter endogenizes a would-be militant group’s decision to enter the marketplace for violence. We show that an existing group may overproduce violence to corner the market and make its potential rivals calculate that recuperating their costs will be impossible. As a result, violence may be greater when we observe one group than when we observe many. We then investigate four ways in which a target government might mitigate the violence: offensive measures that undermine the lead group’s marginal cost of violence, defensive measures that absorb a portion of all violence, deterrent measures that increase the cost of group formation, and concessions to the group’s audience to reduce grievances. Of these, only specific types of defensive measures are guaranteed to decrease violence. In contrast, increasing the burden of entry and decreasing grievances can counterintuitively increase violence.