Youths in violent extremist discourse: Mediated identifications and interventions

Pauline Cheong, Jeffry R. Halverson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This article examines the discursive strategies employed by violent extremists to build a persuasive collective youth identity, drawing from strategic communication, social movement, and membership categorization theories to analyze youth references from texts disseminated by Al Qaeda from 1996-2009. "Youth" is constructed via (a) ascriptions of allegiance to a common belief system whereby militant actions are directed toward establishing a new sociopolitical order, (b) descriptions of pious youth as "true believers" apart from "apostate" state regimes, and (c) references to hagiographies of extremist martyrs that serve as moral exemplars. This article concludes with research directions to facilitate counternarrative interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1104-1123
Number of pages20
JournalStudies in Conflict and Terrorism
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Safety Research
  • Political Science and International Relations


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