This research was conducted while Logan Stickel was a graduate student at University College London. Currently, Logan is an All Hazard Dispatcher with the U.S. Forest Service, specializing in fire suppression and law enforcement operations in wildland environments. His full professional profile can be found on his personal website, http://www.lstickel.com, as well as his LinkedIn profile.
Conflict studies, Military affairs, Radicalization, Social media, Sociocultural dynamics in security, Terrorism / counterterrorism, Violent extremism
The Woolwich Attack of 2013 remains a distinctive case of lone wolf terrorism in terms of its hyper violent theatricalization and symbolic presentation of user-generated content. Although being described as having a paradigmic effect on the way terrorism is viewed and presented, its relationship to traditional media is under examined. To understand the perceptive impact, an exploratory qualitative research project was designed to gauge public views in terms of event presentation by media modality. Primary data was collected through interviews upon a theoretical sampling of fifteen Londoners and interpreted using a framework analysis technique. Results indicated that the main mode by which residents learned of the incident was not through social media, but through traditional media. Although there was significant discussion upon the video address created by the assailants during attack, this was generally only viewed after or in conjunction with journalistic interpretation. Definitions of terrorism were not seen to change as a direct result of the attack, it only reaffirming prior conceptions proffered in media cases, reducing the plausibility of its paradigmic effect. Despite the small sample, the early dawning of patterns and redundancies demonstrates some level of data saturation, verifying its probative value in terrorism and media research.
UCL Student Contributors – No Direct Authorship Credit: Katarzyna Klosieska, Joshua Guinea, Bernardita Valdes, and Catherine Pettinger
Stickel, Logan. “Latent Memories of Terror: Media Perceptions of the Woolwich Attack.” Journal of Strategic Security 9, no. 4 (2016): 125-132.
Available at: http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/jss/vol9/iss4/8