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Correlation, collocation and cohesion: A corpus-based critical analysis of violent jihadist discourse

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/07/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>Discourse and Society
Issue number4
Volume31
Number of pages23
Pages (from-to)351-373
Publication statusPublished
Early online date5/02/20
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This article explores the language of violent jihad, focussing upon lexis encoding concepts from Islam. Through the use of correlation statistics, this article demonstrates that the words encoding such concepts distribute in dependent relationships across different types of texts. The correlation between the words cannot be simply explained in terms of collocation; rather, the correlation is evidence of other forms of cohesion at work in the texts. The variation in patterns of cohesion across a spectrum of texts from those advocating violence to those which do not promote violence demonstrates how these concepts are contested and redefined by violent jihadists and the role that collocation and other forms of cohesion can play in the process. This article concludes that the terms, and their redefinition, are a key part of the symbolic capital used by groups to create identities which licence violence.