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Legitimising the discourses of radicalisation: political violence in the new media ecology

The Economic and Social Research Council
Publication Date
  • Communication
  • Ecology
  • Linguistics
  • Political Science


In the post-9/11 environment of media and conflict, the spread of the ideas and practices of 'radicalisation' and terrorism appear to have been enabled through advances in 'user-generated' online Internet content (so-called 'Web 2.0'). This research adopts an innovative 'new media ecology' approach to illuminate how such views and acts are 'legitimated' and contested through (1) content analysis of the images, sounds and words (in articles, discussions, and videos) used by those who claim to hold radical views and who wish to legitimise or promote terrorist acts; (2) how the acts themselves and explanations for them on the web are 'picked up' and represented in mainstream television news media, through journalistic and editorial uses of words, phrases, graphics, images, videos and so on; and (3) how understandings and misunderstandings of this term 'radicalisation' are shaped via news reporting and representations, tested through interviews and focus group analysis with news publics in the UK and through international comparisons. What is 'new', if anything, about these 'radicalising' discourses, what forms of knowledge are used to legitimate jihadist 'political' acts of violence and terror, and what is the role of the medias 'new' and traditional in amplifying or containing these claims and acts?

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