The Devils Long Tail: Religious and Other Radicals in the Internet Marketplace

Hardcover | March 31, 2015

byDavid Stevens, Kieron Ohara

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The internet may be a utopia for free expression, but it also harbours nihilistic groups and individuals spreading bizarre creeds, unhindered by the risk-averse gatekeepers of the mass media - and not all are as harmless as the Virtual Church of the Blind Chihuahua or Sexastrianism.With few entry barriers, ready anonymity and no centralised control, the internet offers wired extremists unprecedented access to a potential global audience of billions. Technology allows us to select the information we wish to receive - so those of a fanatical bent can filter out moderating voicesand ignore countervailing arguments, retreating into a virtual world of their own design that reaffirms their views.In The Devil's Long Tail, Stevens and O'Hara argue that we misunderstand online extremism if we think intervention is the best way to counter it. Policies designed to disrupt radical networks fail because they ignore the factors that push people to the margins. Extremists are driven less by ideasthan by the benefits of participating in a tightly-knit, self-defined, group. Rather, extreme ideas should be left to sink or swim in the internet's marketplace of ideas.The internet and the web are valuable creations of a free society. Censoring them impoverishes us all while leaving the radical impulse intact.

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The internet may be a utopia for free expression, but it also harbours nihilistic groups and individuals spreading bizarre creeds, unhindered by the risk-averse gatekeepers of the mass media - and not all are as harmless as the Virtual Church of the Blind Chihuahua or Sexastrianism.With few entry barriers, ready anonymity and no centra...

David Stevens (PhD) is Lecturer in the School of Politics and International Relations, University of Nottingham. Kieron O'Hara (PhD) is a philosopher and Senior Research Fellow, Dept. of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton. In 2006 they co-authored Inequality.com: Power, Poverty and the Digital Divide.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 8.4 × 5.4 × 0.98 inPublished:March 31, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199396248

ISBN - 13:9780199396245

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Table of Contents

Part I1. Introduction2. Sad Loners in Black T-Shirts: The Polarisation of Online Debate3. Prevent and Survive: Interventionist Policy StrategiesPart II4. The Narcissism of Small Differences5. In the Beginning Was the Words: Framing and the Construction of the Centre-ground6. Children of the Demand7. Praise the Lord and Pass the AmmunitionPart III8. The Long Tail9. The Appliance of Web Science10. The Hardest Thing

Editorial Reviews

"Stevens and O'Hara adopt a refreshingly original and multidisciplinary market-based approach to analysing the complex intersection between religion, extremism, and the internet to challenge the received wisdom on advisable policy responses. Referencing everyone from Adam Smith to JurgenHabermas, and Sherry Turkle to Joseph Conrad, Nicholas Negroponte, and Eli Pariser, The Devil's Long Tail is essential reading." --Maura Conway, Senior Lecturer in International Security, School of Law and Government, Dublin City University