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The language of Islamic extremism:towards an automated identification of beliefs, motivations and justifications

Prentice, Sheryl and Rayson, Paul and Taylor, Paul (2012) The language of Islamic extremism:towards an automated identification of beliefs, motivations and justifications. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 17 (2). pp. 259-286. ISSN 1384-6655

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Abstract

Recent studies have sought to understand individuals’ motivations for terrorism through terrorist material content. To date, these studies have not capitalised on automated language analysis techniques, particularly those of corpus linguistics. In this paper, we demonstrate how applying three corpus-linguistic techniques to extremist statements can provide insights into their ideology. Our data consisted of 250 statements (»500,000 words) promoting terrorist violence. Using the online software tool WMatrix, we submitted these data to frequency count, key word and key concept, and concordance analyses. Results showed that authors centre their rhetoric on themes of morality, social proof, inspiration and appeals to religion, and refer to the world via contrasting concepts, suggesting a polarised way of thinking compared to a general population usage. Additionally, we show how collocation can aid the establishment of networks between people and places. We discuss how such analyses might support the formulation of evidence based counter-terrorism strategies.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: International Journal of Corpus Linguistics
Uncontrolled Keywords: ideology ; terrorism ; rhetoric ; forensic research
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: Faculty of Science and Technology > Psychology
Faculty of Science and Technology > School of Computing & Communications
ID Code: 58187
Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
Deposited On: 03 Sep 2012 13:42
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 30 Sep 2013 11:53
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/58187

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