Discovering structure in Islamist postings using systemic nets

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Conference Proceeding
IEEE International Conference on Intelligence and Security Informatics: Cybersecurity and Big Data, ISI 2016, 2016, pp. 151 - 156
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© 2016 IEEE. Textual analytics based on representations of documents as bags of words has been extremely successful. However, analysis that requires deeper insight into language, into author properties, or into the contexts in which documents were created requires a richer representation. Systemic nets are one such representation. The jihadist groups AQAP, ISIS, and the Taliban have all produced English magazines designed to influence Western sympathizers. Using a model of jihadi language, we construct a systemic functional net for these magazines, and contrast the structures revealed by clustering using words versus clustering using the choices implicit in systemic functional nets. We then show that the systemic functional net derived from the magazines is consistent with the structure present in two Islamist forums, and therefore reveals two different mindsets, one that is political and another that is religious, that seem widely held within the relevant communities.
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