VOX-Pol Workshop on Critiquing the Discourse of Violent Online Radicalisation

The discourse of violent online radicalisation has been mainstreamed, being increasingly prevalent in both policy circles and media representations. On 8 – 9 March 2016, VOX-Pol will convene a workshop at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg (IFSH) on critiquing the discourse of violent online radicalisation.

The objective of this workshop is to gain an insight into the main debates, issues, achievements and gaps into violent online political extremism and online radicalisation, but also encourage constructive dialogue on the challenges or difficulties in understanding and countering these, including ethical and political considerations.

Given the responses to the terrorist attacks in Paris on 13 November 2015, this workshop is particularly relevant and comes at a crucial juncture in terms of developments in EU politics and policy.

Calls for increased surveillance in tandem with an increasing policy focus on the importance of counter narratives, and other such measures proposed to counter online radicalisation have often been based on unfounded assumptions about how radicalisation actually functions online. It is therefore crucial to critically examine and deconstruct the discourses on which such decisions are based. Not only are a number of these measures advocated without a solid evidence base, but they also often entail negative ethical and legal implications, especially in regard to key democratic principles such as freedom of speech, privacy, and free movement of people.

The workshop itself will be a participatory gathering with short presentations followed by discussion and debate moderated by experts in the field from academia and beyond.


Tuesday 8th March 2016

14:00 – 14:45: Welcome & Introduction

Nick Kaderbhai (ICSR)

14:45 – 16:15: Panel 1 Radicalisation and The Role of the Internet

Dr. Nico Prucha (ICSR VOX-Pol fellow) – “Gaps in Understanding the Role of the Internet in the Case of the Self-Proclaimed “Islamic State” (IS)”

Dr. Paul Gill (UCL) – “Lone Actors and Online Influences”

Dr. Diana Rieger (University of Mannheim) – “Propaganda 2.0 – The Effects of Right-wing and Islamic Extremist Propaganda Videos”

Discussant: Prof. Cristina Archetti (University of Oslo)

16:15 – 16:45 Coffee break

16:45 – 18:15: Panel 2 Counter-narratives

María Jiménez Ramos (COVITE, University of Navarre) – “Testimonies of Victims of Terrorism as a Counter-narrative Strategy: The Case of Spain”

Dr. Kurt Braddock (PennState) – “Reducing Support for Terrorism via Counter-narratives: Analysis, Construction, Dissemination”

Hedvig Ördén (Stockholm University) – “Whatever is Funny is Subversive? Using Humour in Counter-Narratives”

Discussants: Prof. Rüdiger Lohlker (University of Vienna) and Alexander Ritzmann (BIGS Potsdam/RAN Network)


Wednesday 9th March 2016

09:00 – 10:30: Panel 3 CVE, Surveillance, And The Internet

Dr. Raphael Bossong (IFSH, Europe University Viadrina) – “The European Union and the Soft Surveillance of Cyberspace in the Fight against Terrorism”

Claudia Carvalho (Tilburg University) – “The Discourse of Violent Online Radicalisation on Facebook – ‘It’s complicated’”

Dr. Galina Miazhevich (University of Leicester) – “The Online Mediascape and Normalisation of the Extreme Right in Russia”

Discussants: Dr. Stephan Humer (Berlin University of the Arts) and Dr. Claudiu Craciun (National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest)

10:30 – 11:00: Coffee break

11:00 – 13:00: Expert Roundtable and wrap-up

Prof. Cristina Archetti (University of Oslo), Eleonore Yassine-Sahyouni (Ministry of Labour, Social, Family Affairs and Integration, Germany), Dr. Milena Uhlmann (Freelance Consultant), Dr. Stephan Humer (Berlin University of the Arts), Maya Indira Ganesh (Tactical Tech, Berlin).

A report will be published following the event by the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg, and will include updated extended abstracts.

To register to attend the workshop, email workshop@voxpol.eu

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