Better the devil you know? How fringe terrorism can induce an advantage for moderate nonviolent campaigns

Terrorism and Political Violence

Published On 2019/3/4

Fringe terrorism is common during nonviolent campaigns. We examine how this can modify the strategic environment between dissident groups and the state in ways that present both challenges and opportunities to moderate factions. Terrorism is intended to promote violent escalation in a conflict, but we argue that fringe terrorist activities in a nonviolent campaign under certain conditions can induce an advantage for well-organized moderate factions. The risk of escalation following terrorism can give the government more incentives to offer concessions to moderate campaign leaders if the movement can credibly prevent armed escalation. The ability to control and prevent violence is more likely when nonviolent movements have a hierarchical structure and a centralized leadership, as such campaigns are better able to prevent shifts by supporters towards violent fringes. Using new data on terrorist attacks by …

Journal

Terrorism and Political Violence

Published On

2019/3/4

Page

1-20

Authors

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

Position

Professor Department of Government & Peace Research Institute Oslo

H-Index(all)

60

H-Index(since 2020)

48

I-10 Index(all)

0

I-10 Index(since 2020)

0

Citation(all)

0

Citation(since 2020)

0

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0

Research Interests

Conflict

international relations

democratization

statistical methods

political science

University Profile Page

Other Articles from authors

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

Governance

Judiciary institutions and violent crime in American Indian nations

In many American Indian nations the security situation is dire. While scholars have studied how institutions shape economic development in American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) nations, the role of AIAN institutions for security and violent crime has received much less attention—despite the extensive literature highlighting the important role of effective and legitimate institutions in the long‐term decline of violence. We analyze how varying types of American Indian polities and judiciary institutions fare in tackling violent crime using data across 146 American Indian polities. Our findings indicate that more autonomous American Indian criminal justice institutions with specialized court systems are associated with lower violent crime. However, customary justice institutions do not appear to be effective in reducing violent crime, highlighting the problem of cultural mismatch between traditional and formal justice …

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

European Journal of International Relations

Clouds with silver linings: how mobilization shapes the impact of coups on democratization

There is a long-standing debate over the impact of coups on democratization. Some argue that coups can help promote transitions to democratic rule. Yet, others contend that coups often spur increased repression and autocratization, undermining hopes of democratic reform. We argue that both democratic and autocratic changes are more likely after a coup and that popular mobilization plays a crucial role in shaping the post-coup trajectory. Democratization is more likely when coups occur in the presence of significant popular mobilization. A coup reveals cracks within a regime, and the combination of pressure from within and threat from below during popular mobilizations fosters greater incentives to promise democratic reform. In the absence of popular mobilization, autocratic rule is more likely, especially when a coup is successful. We test our argument on the combined effect of popular mobilization and coups …

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

PLoS one

Local deprivation predicts right-wing hate crime in England

We argue that community deprivation can increase the risk of right-wing radicalization and violent attacks and that measures of local deprivation can help improve forecasting local hate crime rates. A large body of research stresses how experiences of deprivation can erode the perceived legitimacy of political leaders and institutions, increase alienation, and encourage right-wing radicalization and hate crime. Existing analyses have found limited support for a close relationship between deprivation and radicalization among individuals. We provide an alternative approach using highly disaggregated data for England and show that information on local deprivation can improve predictions of the location of right-wing hate crime attacks. Beyond the ability to predict where right-wing hate crime is likely, our results suggest that efforts to decrease deprivation can have important consequences for political violence, and that targeting structural facilitators to prevent far-right violence ex ante can be an alternative or complement to ex post measures.

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

Journal of Peace Research

Going, going, gone? Varieties of dissent and leader exit

We examine how popular dissent affects the likelihood that political leaders lose power, distinguishing between types of dissent in terms of nonviolent/violent primary tactics as well as the level of individual participation. We posit that protests threaten leaders both directly through the governance costs of citizen non-compliance, and indirectly through the increased risk of elite defections in the ruling coalition. In a series of propositions we detail how the type of dissent and the magnitude of participation influence the odds of leaders surviving in office. We argue that mass nonviolent challenges tend to be more threatening to a leader’s rule than violent dissent, given the characteristics of movements likely to choose nonviolent tactics. Moreover, the effectiveness of the challenge increases in the scale and size of the dissident campaign, and movements that can mobilize larger numbers have a comparative advantage in …

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

International Studies Review

Challenges to Scholarship and Policy During Crises

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a dramatic influence on mortality and public health and generated much speculation on potential impacts on international politics. Fast-moving crises such as the COVID pandemic and 2008 financial crises entail many challenges for scholarship; events evolve rapidly, our prior knowledge base is limited, it is unclear whether existing theories or analogies apply, and new research findings emerge quickly but also erratically. Researchers face demands to engage with policy and general audiences when normal standards of scholarship may be difficult to apply. Crises can also have a dramatic impact on how we conduct research and interact with other scholars. The forum introduction outlines how crises pose challenges for scholarship and policy and the value of approaching crises such as COVID-19 in comparative perspective. Milner highlights the important differences …

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy

This Research has Important Policy Implications…

The COVID 19 pandemic has generated much interest in the relationship between research and policy. It has drawn new attention to the limitations of a linear model, where policy is based on first observing prior scientific research and then designed in response to this. Conflict researchers often motivate the importance of their work by claiming that their “research has important policy implications”, but the proposals offered are often at best incomplete. I identify a number of common limitations in claims about policy implications, including a lack of discussion of objectives and priorities, stating objectives themselves as if they were policies, claims about targeting factors without discussing the effectiveness of possible interventions, and a failure to consider uncertainty and potential tensions with other objectives or unintended effects. Research can potentially inform policy discussions and improve decisions, but the …

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

Political Research Quarterly

A double-edge sword? Mass media and nonviolent dissent in autocracies

It is often assumed that nondemocratic regimes will control mass media and suppress independent information, but in many autocracies the media are partially free and imperfectly controlled. We argue that partial media freedom can increase the prospects for mass nonviolent dissent. We develop a theory emphasizing how even less than perfectly free media outlets can increase the ability of individuals to coordinate and mobilize, and provide an informational endowment that can help non-state actors overcome collective mobilization barriers. We further argue that this informational endowment amplifies the effect of other influences spurring mass protests in autocracies, in particular protest contagion and elections. We find empirical support for our argument in an analysis of all autocracies between 1955 and 2013. A case study of the Georgian Rose revolution provides further support for the postulated mechanisms.

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

Political Geography

Michael D. Ward (1948–2021) and the road to space, networks and geography

We were very sad to learn of the passing of our mentor, friend, and collaborator Michael D. Ward on 9 July 2021. Mike made important contributions to political geography, and he served on the editorial board of Political Geography from 2002 to 2013 as well as the advisory board for the Center for Spatially Integrated Social Sciences at the University of California Santa Barbara. Above all, he played a key role in disseminating insights on the role of geography and spatial concepts and methods to his home discipline, political science.In this intervention, we have gathered scholars who worked with Mike at different times in his career to reflect on themes in his research and the enduring relevance of his contributions. Our introduction gives a brief account of how Mike’s interest in geography and space evolved.

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

International Studies Quarterly

One without the other? Prediction and policy in international studies

Like many others, I have spent much time since March 2020 reviewing and reflecting on research on COVID-19 and the policy responses to the pandemic. This has in turn inspired me to reflect on research and policy in my own field. The crisis over Russian demands on Ukraine in early 2022 and the subsequent Russian invasion of Ukraine is at the time ofCentre for Advanced Studies, Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters in Oslo, on May 11–12. I would like to dedicate this article to my late supervisor, close collaborator, and personal friend Michael D. Ward. We had many useful discussions on forecasting, and his work on conflict prediction has had a major influence on the field. I hope he would have enjoyed this presidential address.

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

International Studies Quarterly

Ties that bias in international conflict: A spatial approach to dyadic dependence from alliance ties and inbetweenness

Much of international behavior is linked spatially and temporally. Yet, analyses of interstate interactions generally either assume independence among units or resort to technical solutions to dependence that “throw away” relevant information. We detail a more informative and satisfying approach to modeling spatial dependence from extra-dyadic linkages in alliance ties and geographical proximity as specific pathways of conflict contagion. Beyond deterrence, the purpose of alliances is to draw other parties into dyadic contests, but most existing research on conflict onset generally only considers alliance ties within an individual dyad or external intervention in the same dispute. We develop new measures on third- and fourth-party alliance ties, demonstrating direct and indirect spatial effects of alliances on conflict onset. Similarly, ongoing contests can spread geographically, but dyads in some locations are …

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

The Journal of Development Studies

Can education reduce violent crime? Evidence from Mexico before and after the drug war onset

Existing theories relate higher education to lower crime rates, yet we have limited evidence on the crime-reducing effect of education in developing countries. We contribute to this literature by examining the effect of education on homicide in Mexico, where homicide rates decreased by nearly 55 percent from 1992 to 2007, before the surge of drug-related violence. We argue that a large amount of this reduction followed a compulsory schooling law at the secondary level in 1993, when the government undertook key education reforms to promote development and economic integration. We employ different empirical strategies that combine regression analysis, placebo tests, and an instrumental variable approach, and find that attendance in secondary and tertiary schools has a negative effect on homicide rates before the onset of the Drug War, although the evidence for secondary enrolment is more robust. This effect …

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

Journal of Conflict Resolution

Mapping the International

This article introduces CShapes 2.0, a GIS dataset that maps the borders of states and dependent territories from 1886 through 2019. Our dataset builds on the previous CShapes dataset and improves it in two ways. First, it extends temporal coverage from 1946 back to the year 1886, which followed the Berlin Conference on the partition of Africa. Second, the new dataset is no longer limited to independent states, but also maps the borders of colonies and other dependencies, thereby providing near complete global coverage of political units throughout recent history. This article explains the coding procedure, provides a preview of the dataset and presents three illustrative applications.

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

Journal of Conflict Resolution

Mapping the international system, 1886-2019: the CShapes 2.0 dataset

This article introduces CShapes 2.0, a GIS dataset that maps the borders of states and dependent territories from 1886 through 2019. Our dataset builds on the previous CShapes dataset and improves it in two ways. First, it extends temporal coverage from 1946 back to the year 1886, which followed the Berlin Conference on the partition of Africa. Second, the new dataset is no longer limited to independent states, but also maps the borders of colonies and other dependencies, thereby providing near complete global coverage of political units throughout recent history. This article explains the coding procedure, provides a preview of the dataset and presents three illustrative applications.

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

In Memoriam: Michael D. Ward (1948–2021)

We were deeply saddened by the passing of our mentor, friend, and colleague Michael D. Ward on 9 July 2021. Mike served on the editorial board of Defence and Peace Economics from the start of 1990 until 2015, and made important contributions to the study of military expenditures, the economics of peace and militarized conflict, as well as modeling and statistical methods in the social sciences. We extend our deep sympathies to Mike’s family Sandra and Chris. Born in Japan to a military family, Mike had a long academic career, at many institutions and multiple countries. He received a PhD in Political Science from Northwestern University in 1977, with a doctoral dissertation on the political economy of inequality, which was later published as The

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

Journal of Conflict Resolution

From claims to violence: Signaling, outbidding, and escalation in ethnic conflict

Do radical political demands increase the risk of ethnic civil conflict? And why do ethnic movements make radical demands in the first place? We contend that when movements are fragmented, individual organizations use far-reaching claims relative to the status quo to attract attention from the government, boost intra-organizational discipline, and outbid rivals. Yet, such radical claims also increase the risk of conflict escalation. We test our arguments at both the ethnic group and organizational levels, using a new dataset on ethno-political organizations and their political demands. Our results show that the scope of demands increases the more organizations exist within an ethnic movement and that radical demands increase the risk of civil conflict onset. This effect is specific to the dyadic government-movement interaction, irrespective of other ethnic groups in the country. Moreover, at the organizational level …

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

Political Studies Review

Houston, we have a problem: enhancing academic freedom and transparency in publishing through post-publication debate

Debates over controversial articles often highlight important issues regarding academic freedom, transparency, and how to handle disagreements in publishing. I argue that a response outlining criticism is generally a more productive course of action than calling for retraction. However, there are a number of constraints that impede meaningful debates, and a problematic divergence between our common ideals of open research and free debate and the actual practices that we see in academic publishing, where our current practices often undermine transparency, replication, and scientific debate. I argue that research can benefit from more explicit recognition of politics and preferences in how we evaluate research as well greater opportunities for post-publication debate. The successful initiatives to promote data replicability over the past decade provide useful lessons for what improved post-publication …

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

The Economics of Peace and Security Journal

Accounting for numbers: Group characteristics and the choice of violent and nonviolent tactics

Scholars have shown that nonviolent movements tend to be more successful than violent movements. A key explanation is that nonviolent movements have a mobilization advantage over violent campaigns. As nonviolent movements have lower barriers to active participation, they can expand quickly by mobilizing much larger numbers than violent movements. We argue that such a mobilization advantage is not universal, and that different movements are likely to have a comparative advantage in one tactic over another. We develop a simple model emphasizing how the ex ante potential for mobilization and prospects for success steer the choice of dissident tactics. Nonviolent tactics can be relatively more effective when a movement can mobilize more active participants than with violence, but movements with limited mobilization potential can have feasible prospects for violent dissent and a nonviolent mobilization disadvantage. We examine the implications of the model against empirical data for different types of dissident tactics and on resort to nonviolent and nonviolent dissent. We demonstrate very different actor profiles in nonviolent dissent and violent conflict, and show how each of the two types of dissent are more likely under very different settings. To compare success by types of dissent we must account for how differences in potential numbers or mobilization shape tactical choices.

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

Mobilization

Ticked off, but scared off? Riots and the fate of nonviolent campaigns

Research on the relationship between nonviolent and violent dissent has focused on explicit shifts in organized strategies, disregarding less-organized forms of violence such as riots. Even though disorganized violence is common, we know little about how it influences the onset and fate of antigovernment nonviolent campaigns. Activists frequently argue that nonviolent discipline is essential and disorganized violence is counterproductive for effective large-scale mobilization. However, others emphasize how disorganized violence could have a mobilizing effect on large-scale protest and revitalize a nonviolent campaign. We detail these competing perspectives on how riots can influence the onset and outcomes of nonviolent campaigns. We then evaluate these contending claims empirically by examining how riots affect the initial emergence of nonviolent campaigns and the likelihood that campaigns will terminate …

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

International Journal of Qualitative Methods

Preregistering qualitative research: A Delphi study

Preregistrations—records made a priori about study designs and analysis plans and placed in open repositories—are thought to strengthen the credibility and transparency of research. Different authors have put forth arguments in favor of introducing this practice in qualitative research and made suggestions for what to include in a qualitative preregistration form. The goal of this study was to gauge and understand what parts of preregistration templates qualitative researchers would find helpful and informative. We used an online Delphi study design consisting of two rounds with feedback reports in between. In total, 48 researchers participated (response rate: 16%). In round 1, panelists considered 14 proposed items relevant to include in the preregistration form, but two items had relevance scores just below our predefined criterion (68%) with mixed argument and were put forth again. We combined items where …

Other articles from Terrorism and Political Violence journal

Mehmet F. Bastug

Mehmet F. Bastug

University of Scranton

Terrorism and Political Violence

Deconstructing Fears of Terrorism: A Comparison between Fear from Domestic and International Terrorist Groups

Although research on fears of terrorism has been growing, previous studies approached the topic of the fear of terrorism as a monolithic concept without considering the various political aspects of terrorism as a crime. The current research employed a novel approach to studying the fear of terrorism as a polylithic phenomenon by comparing three different types of fears of terrorism among Americans: general fears of terrorism, fears of domestic terrorist groups, and fears of international terrorist groups. Drawing on a nationally representative sample from the Chapman Survey of American Fears, Wave 5 (2018), the results of the analysis indicated that the predictors were differentially associated with the three types of fear with respect to their statistical significance and correlation directions. Thus, this study provides a significant contribution to the literature on the fear of terrorism topic by illustrating the important …

John Horgan

John Horgan

Georgia State University

Terrorism and Political Violence

The Politics of Perception: Political Preference Strongly Associated with Different Perceptions of Islamist and Right-Wing Terrorism Risk

Islamist and extreme right-wing (XRW) terrorism represent about equal levels of risk in terms of casualties in the U.S. over the past decade, yet Islamist terrorists receive far more news coverage, have more serious charges filed against them, are considered more deserving of torture and detainment, and receive harsher prison sentences than XRW terrorists. That Islamist and XRW terrorism elicit such different responses raises the question: Do Americans perceive the risk of Islamist and XRW terrorism differently? To investigate, we measured risk perceptions for Islamist and XRW terrorism in a nationally representative sample of 405 U.S. residents. How Americans perceived the risk of terrorism was strongly associated with their political preferences, such that conservatives perceived Islamist terrorism as the greater risk and liberals perceived XRW terrorism as the greater risk. The political orientation of the news …

Michael Halpin

Michael Halpin

Dalhousie University

Terrorism and Political Violence

The Emergence of the Incel Community as a Misogyny-Motivated Terrorist Threat

The incel (involuntary celibate) community is characterized by misogynistic beliefs surrounding women and a fatalistic outlook on society. Incels have committed, or have attempted to commit, several acts of mass violence globally, which suggests they are an emerging terror threat. In this study, we discuss how incels position their violence as ideological terrorism, how this violence is tied to misogyny despite incels’ additional targeting of non-women, and finally, the extent to which incels are, or at least claim to be, anti-violence or otherwise non-violent. To do this, we inductively analysed over 1000 comments from a popular incel forum, Incels.is, detailing how incels discuss three mass-murderers associated with the incel community: Elliot Rodger, Alek Minassian, and Jake Davison. Through revealing the ways incels discuss these three men, we conclude that incels view their own violence as terrorism with …

Andrey Tomashevskiy

Andrey Tomashevskiy

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Terrorism and political violence

Terror, political risk, and effect on foreign direct investment

Terrorist attacks have important social, political, and economic effects. One of the effects of terrorism involves the impact on foreign direct investment (FDI). While existing research suggests that terrorism negatively impacts FDI by increasing political risks, it is unclear how the effects of terrorism are conditioned by host country institutions. Political institutions may affect investors’ perceptions of political risk following a terrorist attack by shaping expectations of future political risk. We argue that the conditional effect of institutions and terrorism is non-linear: Terrorism has a negative effect on FDI inflows to countries with a medium level of institutional effectiveness only. Using quantitative analyses of FDI flows and political risk ratings, we show that terrorism has no effect on FDI in host countries with very high or very low levels of political institutional effectiveness. In a qualitative analysis of FDI and terrorism during the civil …

Finlay Maguire

Finlay Maguire

Dalhousie University

Terrorism and Political Violence

The Emergence of the Incel Community as a Misogyny-Motivated Terrorist Threat

The incel (involuntary celibate) community is characterized by misogynistic beliefs surrounding women and a fatalistic outlook on society. Incels have committed, or have attempted to commit, several acts of mass violence globally, which suggests they are an emerging terror threat. In this study, we discuss how incels position their violence as ideological terrorism, how this violence is tied to misogyny despite incels’ additional targeting of non-women, and finally, the extent to which incels are, or at least claim to be, anti-violence or otherwise non-violent. To do this, we inductively analysed over 1000 comments from a popular incel forum, Incels.is, detailing how incels discuss three mass-murderers associated with the incel community: Elliot Rodger, Alek Minassian, and Jake Davison. Through revealing the ways incels discuss these three men, we conclude that incels view their own violence as terrorism with …

Bettina Rottweiler

Bettina Rottweiler

University College London

Terrorism and political violence

Crowdsourcing samples for research on violent extremism: a research note

As research on violent extremism continues to progress beyond some of the field’s earlier challenges, new ways of gathering primary source data are becoming increasingly popular. One such data collection methodology implemented widely across parallel fields is crowdsourcing: the process of gathering information, or input, from large numbers of people, either for payment or not, online. In this research note, we present a brief introduction to crowdsourcing, highlight a popular platform for gathering samples online, Prolific, and present four studies conducted by the research team to demonstrate the unique benefits and challenges of crowdsourcing samples online for research on violent extremism.

Ismail Onat

Ismail Onat

University of Scranton

Terrorism and Political Violence

Deconstructing Fears of Terrorism: A Comparison between Fear from Domestic and International Terrorist Groups

Although research on fears of terrorism has been growing, previous studies approached the topic of the fear of terrorism as a monolithic concept without considering the various political aspects of terrorism as a crime. The current research employed a novel approach to studying the fear of terrorism as a polylithic phenomenon by comparing three different types of fears of terrorism among Americans: general fears of terrorism, fears of domestic terrorist groups, and fears of international terrorist groups. Drawing on a nationally representative sample from the Chapman Survey of American Fears, Wave 5 (2018), the results of the analysis indicated that the predictors were differentially associated with the three types of fear with respect to their statistical significance and correlation directions. Thus, this study provides a significant contribution to the literature on the fear of terrorism topic by illustrating the important …

Sam Whitt

Sam Whitt

High Point University

Terrorism and Political Violence

Retribution versus Rehabilitation for Children within Insurgency: Public Attitudes Toward ISIS-Affiliated Youth in Mosul, Iraq

In the aftermath of insurgent violence, how do people view the treatment of insurgent youth, from adolescent fighters to very young children? Using an original survey, we examine public opinion regarding adolescent/child soldiers and young children in the Islamic State (ISIS) in Mosul, Iraq. Focusing retrospectively, we inquire about rehabilitative versus retributive preferences for minors who fought and worked for the Islamic State relative to adults. We find that retributive preferences toward minors are conditioned on their participation in violence, beliefs about the determinants of adulthood, and the role of agency versus coercion in the recruitment process. Looking prospectively, we find the public divided between fears over the threat posed by radicalized children within insurgency and hope for their rehabilitation and reintegration. Our results raise concerns about the detrimental effects of retributive justice and …

Paul Gill

Paul Gill

University College London

Terrorism and political violence

Crowdsourcing samples for research on violent extremism: a research note

As research on violent extremism continues to progress beyond some of the field’s earlier challenges, new ways of gathering primary source data are becoming increasingly popular. One such data collection methodology implemented widely across parallel fields is crowdsourcing: the process of gathering information, or input, from large numbers of people, either for payment or not, online. In this research note, we present a brief introduction to crowdsourcing, highlight a popular platform for gathering samples online, Prolific, and present four studies conducted by the research team to demonstrate the unique benefits and challenges of crowdsourcing samples online for research on violent extremism.

Yoshiharu Kobayashi

Yoshiharu Kobayashi

University of Leeds

Terrorism and Political Violence

Combating the Terrorist Stigma: Communicating Rehabilitation and Reducing Barriers to Reintegration

Stigmatizing behavior and a lack of supportive behavior can act as a barrier to successfully reintegrating terrorist offenders, potentially resulting in reoffending. As such, there have been several efforts to understand how to build community support for reintegration of terrorist offenders, for example through community engagement or messaging from trusted authorities. Research on the drivers of community support for reintegrating criminal offenders further suggests the perceived redeemability of an offender is significant at overcoming stigmatization and promoting support for rehabilitation and re-entry into society. In this study, we deploy an experimental survey design to isolate the causal effect of information which signals offender redeemability and then analyze its effect on four measures of supportive and stigmatizing behavior toward a terrorist offender. We also examine the individual characteristics of those more …

Thomas J. Holt

Thomas J. Holt

Michigan State University

Terrorism and Political Violence

Assessing racial and ethnically motivated extremist cyberattacks using open source data

Over the last twenty years, researchers have noted the range of violent and financial crimes performed by racial and ethnically-motivated actors. There is also substantial evidence demonstrating the ways that these actors utilize the Internet and various online communications platforms as a resource to recruit others and coordinate criminal activities. As virtually all aspects of modern interpersonal communication, commerce, and government depend on the Internet, these resources are a likely target for ideologically-motivated attacks. There is, however, little research considering the extent to which these resources have been targeted by racial and ethnically-motivated actors. This study attempted to address this gap in the literature through an analysis of the Extremist CyberCrime Database (ECCD), a unique open-source repository of cyberattacks performed against U.S. targets from 1998 to 2020. The findings …

Stephane J. Baele

Stephane J. Baele

University of Exeter

Terrorism and political violence

A diachronic cross-platforms analysis of violent extremist language in the incel online ecosystem

The emergence and growth of incel subculture online has triggered a considerable body of research to date, most of which analyzing its worldview or mapping its position and connections within the broader manosphere. While this research has considerably enhanced our understanding of the incel phenomenon, it tends to offer a somewhat static, one-dimensional portrayal of what is—like all online subcultures and communities—a highly dynamic and multi-layered environment. Consequently, we lack sufficiently nuanced answers to what is arguably a critical question for law enforcement and academics alike: is this a violent extremist ideology? Using a uniquely extensive corpus covering a range of online spaces constitutive of the incelosphere spanning several years, we analyze the evolution of incel language across both time and platforms. Specifically, we test whether this language has grown more extreme …

Debbie Ging

Debbie Ging

Dublin City University

Terrorism and political violence

A diachronic cross-platforms analysis of violent extremist language in the incel online ecosystem

The emergence and growth of incel subculture online has triggered a considerable body of research to date, most of which analyzing its worldview or mapping its position and connections within the broader manosphere. While this research has considerably enhanced our understanding of the incel phenomenon, it tends to offer a somewhat static, one-dimensional portrayal of what is—like all online subcultures and communities—a highly dynamic and multi-layered environment. Consequently, we lack sufficiently nuanced answers to what is arguably a critical question for law enforcement and academics alike: is this a violent extremist ideology? Using a uniquely extensive corpus covering a range of online spaces constitutive of the incelosphere spanning several years, we analyze the evolution of incel language across both time and platforms. Specifically, we test whether this language has grown more extreme …

Yi Ting Chua

Yi Ting Chua

University of Cambridge

Terrorism and Political Violence

“We Want You!” Applying Social Network Analysis to Online Extremist Communities

Current literature on online criminal and deviant groups recognizes the role of online forums in the transfer of knowledge and socialization of members, but debates on the role of the Internet in the socialization and radicalization processes in the context of online extremist groups. This study contributes to the discussion by examining online radicalization process through the use of social learning theory and social network analysis. This innovation allows for assessment on the impact of online interactions with forum members on radicalization process. Findings found strong support of differential association and differential reinforcement, but showed the possibility of other mechanisms, such as self-radicalization, at play. Findings from the study highlight the need to for theory integration, the inclusion of online peer association, and replication to address the complex phenomenon of online radicalization.

Efe Tokdemir

Efe Tokdemir

Bilkent Üniversitesi

Terrorism and Political Violence

To Be Experienced or Not? Unpacking the Relationship between Leader Tenure and Counterinsurgency Efforts

Although countering insurgencies through violence is common yet costly, we occasionally observe governments take this cost by adopting non-violent strategies. Hence, under what circumstances do leaders choose non-violent or violent ones in tackling with insurgencies? We empirically investigate how leader experience in office affects what type of counterinsurgency measures leaders employ, and how domestic political constraints condition the decision-making process. We argue that inexperienced leaders tend to use violence, while experienced ones may adopt conciliatory tactics, as the former are more risk prone to prove their strong leadership immediately. However, we also contend that institutional mechanisms could moderate this effect depending on the level of constraints they impose. Drawing on Asal et al. dataset on governments’ counterinsurgency activities, we find that inexperienced leaders are …

Ezenwa E. Olumba

Ezenwa E. Olumba

Royal Holloway, University of London

Terrorism and political violence

The politics of eco-violence: Why is conflict escalating in Nigeria’s middle belt?

In Nigeria’s Middle Belt, competition for land and other resources has intensified between nomadic Fulani herders and sedentary farmers. What were initially sporadic conflicts over cropland and water resources have transformed into daily occurrences of mass violence. While extant research centres on the root causes of such conflicts, the reasons for their escalation remain insufficiently understood. This article examines how political developments have contributed to the escalation of conflicts. Using the Homer-Dixon model and secondary sources, the findings show that changes in Nigeria’s “political opportunity structure” since 2014 were catalysts for escalating violent conflicts. The consequences were the unvarnished adoption of nepotistic domestic policies and alliances between elites and militia members, which escalated the violent conflicts. This article advocates the devolution of natural resources and …

Jonathan E. Collins

Jonathan E. Collins

Brown University

Terrorism and Political Violence

The Gift of Gab: A Netnographic Examination of the Community Building Mechanisms in Far-Right Online Space

Major social media platforms have recently taken a more proactive stand against harmful far-right content and pandemic-related disinformation on their sites. However, these actions have catalysed the growth of fringe online social networks for participants seeking right-wing content, safe havens, and unhindered communication channels. To better understand these isolated systems of online activity and their success, the study on Gab Social examines the mechanisms used by the far right to form an alternative collective on fringe social media. My analysis showcases how these online communities are built by perpetuating meso-level identity-building narratives. By examining Gab’s emphasis on creating its lasting community base, the work offers an experiential examination of the different communication devices and multimedia within the platform through a netnographic and qualitative content analysis lens. The …

Caitlin Clemmow

Caitlin Clemmow

University College London

Terrorism and political violence

Crowdsourcing samples for research on violent extremism: a research note

As research on violent extremism continues to progress beyond some of the field’s earlier challenges, new ways of gathering primary source data are becoming increasingly popular. One such data collection methodology implemented widely across parallel fields is crowdsourcing: the process of gathering information, or input, from large numbers of people, either for payment or not, online. In this research note, we present a brief introduction to crowdsourcing, highlight a popular platform for gathering samples online, Prolific, and present four studies conducted by the research team to demonstrate the unique benefits and challenges of crowdsourcing samples online for research on violent extremism.

David Malet

David Malet

American University

Terrorism and Political Violence

Foreign Fighter Mobilization: YPG Volunteers in Their Own Words

This article presents data from interviews with eighteen individuals from Western countries who volunteered to fight in Syria with the Kurdish YPG against the Islamic State. We find that, despite predictions in the literature about ideological or religious indoctrination as the primary factor motivating foreign fighter mobilization, respondents described their decisions to join YPG determined by two individual-level factors: The first was precipitating new information, such as viewing war crimes videos, which was an emotional tipping point for volunteers already interested in the conflict. The second factor was the preconditions, or permissive conditions, that permitted them to leave their home countries, such as the end of a lease. The data adds richness to models of militant activity by indicating that it may not be a linear transmissive process but one that is dependent on the alignment of variables specific to the subject.

Daniel W. Snook

Daniel W. Snook

Georgia State University

Terrorism and Political Violence

The Politics of Perception: Political Preference Strongly Associated with Different Perceptions of Islamist and Right-Wing Terrorism Risk

Islamist and extreme right-wing (XRW) terrorism represent about equal levels of risk in terms of casualties in the U.S. over the past decade, yet Islamist terrorists receive far more news coverage, have more serious charges filed against them, are considered more deserving of torture and detainment, and receive harsher prison sentences than XRW terrorists. That Islamist and XRW terrorism elicit such different responses raises the question: Do Americans perceive the risk of Islamist and XRW terrorism differently? To investigate, we measured risk perceptions for Islamist and XRW terrorism in a nationally representative sample of 405 U.S. residents. How Americans perceived the risk of terrorism was strongly associated with their political preferences, such that conservatives perceived Islamist terrorism as the greater risk and liberals perceived XRW terrorism as the greater risk. The political orientation of the news …