(ISIS photo)

Hyper-Reality, Identity and Mediatisation – A Sociological Reflection on the Pro-Islamic State Online Community

During the opening months of 2021 several pro-Islamic State unofficial media outlets have produced and shared a vast amount of video productions, both short and long, sophisticated as well as seemingly improvised. With almost only occasional half-minute video footage from Amaq News Agency, the official Islamic State propaganda organs are experiencing a decrease in production of moving images. This raises the question of the significance of supporter driven media groups such as Al-Battar, Hadm Al-Aswar, At-Taqwa, Aladeyat, Asawirti Media, War and Media, and Virtual Battlefield, producing visual propaganda on behalf of or aligned with Islamic State.

In a recent GNET Insight I presented five categories characterising the present momentum of Islamic State’s virtual caliphate, one of which referred to an expanded outsourcing of propaganda. This outsourcing takes different forms and opens up for a theoretical reflection on wider implications of this development, concerning both digital and societal realms. Empirical observations of dynamics occurring within the online communities when supporters interact and collaborate around propaganda production are essential. In addition, it is equally crucial to theoretically reflect on the sociological impact of the prosperous online environment applied by engaged Islamic State supporters. Below is an attempt to approach the formation of, attraction to, and dynamics within pro-Islamic State online communities through postmodernist, sociological, and media theoretical concepts.

Read more at the Global Network on Extremism and Technology

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