- “Extremism and toxic masculinity: the man question re-posed ” by Elizabeth Pearson ,International Affairs, Volume 95, Issue 6, November 2019, Pages 1251–1270
- “A comparison of ISIS foreign fighters and supporters social media posts: an exploratory mixed-method content analysis” by Leevia Dillon, Loo Seng Neo & Joshua D. Freilich, IBehavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression, 12 Nov 2019
- “Mapping Connections and Cooperation between Terrorist and Criminal Entities” by Arie Perliger & Michael Palmieri, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 11 Nov 2019
- “Comparing the Different Behavioral Outcomes of Extremism: A Comparison of Violent and Non-Violent Extremists, Acting Alone or as Part of a Group” by Sarah Knight,David Keatley & Katie Woodward, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 11 Nov 2019
- “Policy expertise and use of evidence in a populist era” by Brian W. Head & Subho Banerjee, Australian Journal of Political Science, 18 Nov 2019
It is more than 20 years since Marysia Zalewski and feminist scholars posed ‘the man question’ in International Relations, repositioning the gaze from female subjectivities to a problematization of the subjecthood of man. The field of masculinity studies has developed this initial question to a deep interrogation of the relationship between maleness and violence. Yet public and policy discourse often reduce the complexity of masculinities within extremism to issues of crisis and toxicity. Governments have prioritized the prevention of extremism, particularly violent Islamism, and in so doing have produced as ‘risk’ particular racialized and marginalized men. This article asks, what are the effects of the toxic masculinity discourse in understanding the British radical right? It argues that current understandings of extremism neglect the central aim of Zalewski's ‘man’ question to destabilize the field and deconstruct patriarchy. They instead position Islamophobia—which is institutionalized in state discourse—as the responsibility of particular ‘extreme’ and ‘toxic’ groups. In particular, the article outlines two ways in which ‘toxic masculinity’ is an inadequate concept to describe activism in the anti-Islam(ist) movement the English Defence League (EDL). First, the term ‘toxic masculinity’ occludes the continuities of EDL masculinities with wider patriarchal norms; second, it neglects the role of women as significant actors in the movement. Using an ethnographic and empathetic approach to this case-study, the article explores how Zalewski's theoretical position offers a route to analysis of the ways in which masculinities and patriarchy entwine in producing power and violence; and to a discussion of masculinities that need not equate manhood with threat.
This paper compares the social media posts of ISIS foreign fighters to those of ISIS supporters. We examine a random sample of social media posts made by violent foreign fighters (n = 14; 2000 posts) and non-violent supporters (n = 18; 2000 posts) of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) (overall n = 4,000 posts), from 2009 to 2015. We used a mixed-method study design. Our qualitative content analyses of the 4,000 posts identified five themes: Threats to in-group, societal grievances, pursuit for significance, religion, and commitment issues. Our quantitative comparisons found that the dominant themes in the foreign fighters’ online content were threats to in-group, societal grievances, and pursuit for significance, while religion and commitment issues were dominant themes in the supporters’ online content. We also identified thematic variations reflecting individual attitudes that emerged during the 2011–2015 period, when major geopolitical developments occurred in Syria and Iraq. Finally, our quantitative sentiment-based analysis found that the supporters (10 out of 18; 56%) posted more radical content than the foreign fighters (5 out of 14; 36%) on social media.
In recent years, terrorist groups intensified their cooperation with criminal entities or their independent engagement in criminal activities. But why and how, exactly, is cooperation with criminal actors beneficial for terrorist groups? And under which political and economic conditions are criminal and terrorist entities more inclined to cooperate or coordinate their operations? Despite the growing interest of academics and practitioners in the nexus of crime and terrorism, we are still unable to answer such questions authoritatively, and, in general, we are lacking in our understanding of the operational characteristics of these connections. The current study utilizes a global dataset of cases of cooperation between terrorist and criminal groups in order to try and answer some of these questions. Our findings indicate that both organizational and environmental factors can predict the likelihood of collaboration. More specifically, group structure, lifespan, ethnic/religious compatibility, geographical proximity, and the existence of criminal infrastructure are all associated with the tendency of criminal and terrorist groups to cooperate. Lastly, corporate and established terrorist groups are more inclined to engage in multiple low-end cooperation rather than high end.
Presented here is an exploratory study that compared four kinds of extremists (violent lone, nonviolent lone, violent group member, and nonviolent group member). Thematic analysis of 40 case studies identified five key themes and a number of subthemes that comprised a range of underlying variables. Comparisons of the four groups showed that in many ways violent and nonviolent extremists acting alone or as part of a group do not differ. However there were some variables that distinguished between groups. Findings are discussed in terms of implications for countering and preventing violent extremism.
Populism and media-enhanced polarisation are reinforcing the declining trust in public institutions. These forces also undermine the perceived legitimacy of using expertise and evidence in highly contested policy areas. Expertise has been decried as elitist, or serving vested interests, or ineffective in tackling real-life problems. We argue that applying relevant expertise to public policy problems remains essential. However, this use of expertise must be situated within improved democratic decision-making and governance arrangements. Good policy governance requires not only using best available knowledge, but also strengthening civic trust and legitimacy, through fair and open processes. We also explore the continuing critical role of senior public servants in strengthening deliberative processes and in enhancing the flows of knowledge.