Analogy and authority in cyberterrorism discourse: An analysis of global news media coverage

Jarvis, Lee and Macdonald, Stuart and Whiting, Andrew (2016) Analogy and authority in cyberterrorism discourse: An analysis of global news media coverage. Global Society, 30 (4). pp. 605-623. ISSN 1360-0826

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This article explores constructions of cyberterrorism within the global news media between 2008 and 2013. It begins by arguing that the preoccupation with questions of definition, threat and response in academic literature on cyberterrorism is problematic, for two reasons. First, because it neglects the constitutivity of representations of cyberterrorism in the news media and beyond; and, second, because it prioritises policy-relevant research. To address this, the article provides a discursive analysis drawing on original empirical research into 31 news media outlets across the world. Although there is genuine heterogeneity in representations of cyberterrorism therein, we argue that constructions of this threat rely heavily on two strategies. First, appeals to authoritative or expert ‘witnesses’ and their institutional or epistemic credibility. And, second, generic or historical analogies, which help shape understanding of the likelihood and consequences of cyberterrorist attack. These strategies have particularly discursive importance, we argue, given the lack of readily available empirical examples of the ‘reality’ of cyberterrorism.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number:
20 April 2016Published Online
18 December 2015Accepted
Subjects: CAH15 - social sciences > CAH15-03 - politics > CAH15-03-01 - politics
Divisions: Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences > Dept. Criminology and Sociology
Depositing User: Andrew Whiting
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2018 08:50
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2022 15:55

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