‘My journey to jihad’: Featured stories in jihadi propaganda
For this research, the team conducted a systematic comparative analysis of 366 stories extracted from English-language magazines by ISIS, Al Qaeda, Tehrik-e Taliban of Pakistan (TTP) and the Taliban. We employ the Information, Motivation, and Behavior Skills (IMB) model of behavior change to conduct in-depth qualitative and quantitative analysis of these stories. By focusing on stories featured in jihadi magazines, this research illustrates that (1) stories of ‘average’ jihadists can be effective persuasive tools, (2) the majority of the content of stories by all groups falls within the motivational component of the IMB model and that, (3) groups differ in their focus on various element of the IMB. For example, while Al Qaeda stories provide more informational content, other groups focus on motivational rhetoric.
This work was supported by the Minerva Research Initiative of the U.S. Department of Defense, through the Air Force Office of Scientific Research as part of the Mobilizing Media research program (Grant# FA9550-15-1-0373; Anthony F. Lemieux, PI). All opinions and conclusions expressed are those of the authors.
Dr Weeda Mehran is a former Postdoctoral Research Fellow in terrorism and media research at Georgia State. Mehran is a faculty member at the Department of Politics and the Programme Director for the MA in Conflict, Security and Development at the University of Exeter. She is an investigator of the U.S. Department of Defense Minerva Initiative supported interdisciplinary, multi-institution, research program on Mobilizing Media.
Anthony F. Lemieux is founding co-director of the Atlanta Global Studies Center, and professor of Communication at Georgia State University. He is principal investigator of the U.S. Department of Defense Minerva Initiative supported interdisciplinary, multi-institution, research program on Mobilizing Media which analyzes propaganda outputs of terrorist groups including magazines, music, images, texts, and videos. In addition, he is co-PI on a U.S. Department of Education supported National Resource Center and FLAS program in collaboration with colleagues at Georgia Tech.
Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression: https://doi.org/10.1080/19434472.2021.1886154