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The language of new terrorism: differences in psychological dimensions of communication in Dabiq and Inspire

journal contribution
posted on 01.10.2018, 00:00 authored by Matteo VerganiMatteo Vergani, Ana-Maria Bliuc
We investigate differences in the psychological aspects underpinning Western mobilisation of two terrorist groups by analysing their English-language propaganda. Based on a computerised analysis of the language used in two English-language online magazines circulated by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al-Qaeda (i.e., Dabiq and Inspire), we found significant differences in their language—the ISIS’ language being
higher in authoritarianism and its level of religiousness. In a follow-up experimental study, we found that being high in religiousness and authoritarianism predicts more positive attitudes towards the language used by ISIS, but not towards the language used by al-Qaeda. The results suggest that ISIS’ propaganda may be more effective in mobilising individuals who are more authoritarian and more focused on religion than that of al-Qaeda. These findings are consistent with the behaviour observed in recent homegrown terrorist attacks in the United States and Europe.

History

Journal

Journal of language and social psychology

Volume

37

Issue

5

Pagination

523 - 540

Publisher

SAGE Publications

Location

London, Eng.

ISSN

0261-927X

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2018, The Author(s)