Marketing the radical: the role of the internet

Marketing the “radical”: Symbolic communication and persuasive technologies in jihadist websites

This paper reviews the persuasion techniques employed by jihadist websites with particular reference to the patterns of rhetoric, image, and symbolism manifested in text, videos, and interactive formats. Beyond symbolic communication, the online media needs to be also understood through its persuasive tendencies as a medium which elicits social response through its design architecture. This double articulation of new media technologies, as a medium for information and as a form of persuasive technology, has provided new means to market the radical. The marketing techniques of jihadist websites through multimedia formats have consequences for the formation of identities, both collective and individual. As a marketing tool it combines established forms of rhetoric and propaganda with new ways to reach audiences through both popular culture and religious ideologies. The paper analyses the implications for further research and counterterrorism strategies.

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