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Weaponized Words
The Strategic Role of Persuasion in Violent Radicalization and Counter-Radicalization

$79.99 (P)

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  • Date Published: May 2020
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108474528

$ 79.99 (P)

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About the Authors
  • Strengthen your understanding of the persuasive mechanisms used by terrorist groups and how they are effective in order to defeat them. Weaponized Words applies existing theories of persuasion to domains unique to this digital era, such as social media, YouTube, websites, and message boards to name but a few. Terrorists deploy a range of communication methods and harness reliable communication theories to create strategic messages that persuade peaceful individuals to join their groups and engage in violence. While explaining how they accomplish this, the book lays out a blueprint for developing counter-messages perfectly designed to conquer such violent extremism and terrorism. Using this basis in persuasion theory, a socio-scientific approach is generated to fight terrorist propaganda and the damage it causes.

    • Describes four key theories and perspectives related to persuasion and how they relate to radicalization and counter-radicalization
    • Identifies future challenges that security officials will face in trying to stop terrorist messaging from promoting violent radicalization
    • Suggests future directions that security officials, researchers, and policymakers can take persuasion theory to develop effective counter-messaging campaigns
    Read more


    • Winner, 2021 The Sue DeWine Distinguished Scholarly Book Award, National Communication Association (NCA)

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Kurt Braddock is the leading scholar on communication research, terrorism, and counter-terrorism. Both practically useful and grounded in solid evidence, I would recommend Weaponised Words to certified counter-terrorism and countering violent extremism practitioners and researchers alike. It is a cutting-edge toolbox to level the playing field against extremist and terrorist recruitment.' Daniel Koehler, Director of German Institute on Radicalization and De-Radicalization Studies (GIRDS)

    'Weaponized Words delivers a powerful one-two punch, combining a deep dive into the science of persuasion with detailed recommendations for counter-terrorism communications. This is exactly the kind of hands-on guide that counter-terrorism practitioners need and is destined to have a huge impact on how people around the world combat violent extremism.' J. M. Berger, author of Extremism, research fellow for VOX-Pol, and consultant on extremism

    ‘… the book … contains a detailed explanation of a prominent theory of communication, followed by guidance for practitioners. The theoretical explanations - of narrative persuasion, attitude inoculation, reasoned action theory, and emotional appeals - incorporate extensive references to both classic and cutting-edge research in the social and behavioral sciences.’ S. Blincoe, Choice

    ‘… this book contributes to the understanding of the persuasive communication techniques that have been used by extremist groups, and can be used to defeat them. This book is ideal for researchers and practitioners interested in perusasive communication as an effective counter-radicalisation tool.’ Chi Zhang, Behavioural Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2020
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108474528
    • length: 302 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 156 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.54kg
    • contains: 13 b/w illus. 5 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. The Battlefield: Foundations of Persuasion, Radicalization, Violent Radicalization and Counter-Radicalization:
    1. Words are loaded pistols: radicalization and persuasion
    2. The riddle of the Sphinx: lessons from past and current counter-radicalization efforts
    Part II. The Weapons: Theories of Persuasion and their Application to Radicalization and Counter-Radicalization Processes:
    3. Extremist narratives and counter-narratives
    4. Vaccinating against the enemy: attitudinal inoculation, radicalization, and counter-radicalization
    5. The reasoned action of radicalization and counter-radicalization
    6. Terrorism is theater: emotion in extremist propaganda and counter-propaganda
    Part III. The War: Future Challenges and Ways Forward in the Battle over Strategic Influence:
    7. The coming persuasion wars: three future challenges in radicalization and counter-radicalization
    8. Fighting back: three future directions for persuasion-based approaches to counter-radicalization.

  • Author

    Kurt Braddock, Pennsylvania State University
    Kurt Braddock is Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences at the Pennsylvania State University. He researches the persuasive effects of terrorist propaganda and how that propaganda can be challenged. He has also advised multiple governments, non-governmental organizations, and practitioners on effective counter-messaging strategies.


    • Winner, 2021 The Sue DeWine Distinguished Scholarly Book Award, National Communication Association (NCA)

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