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A Computer-Aided Text Analysis to Explore Recruitment and Intellectual Polarization Strategies in ISIS Media


Ayman Farid Khafaga


Vol. 22  No. 8  pp. 87-96


This paper employs a computer-aided text analysis (CATA) and a Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) to explore the strategies of recruitment and intellectual polarization in ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) media. The paper’s main objective is to shed light on the efficacy of employing computer software in the linguistic analysis of texts, and the extent to which CATA software contribute to deciphering hidden meanings of texts as well as to arrive at concise and authentic results from these texts. More specifically, this paper attempts to demonstrate the contribution of CATA software represented in the two variables of Frequency Distribution Analysis (FDA) and Content Analysis (CA) in decoding the strategies of recruitment and intellectual polarization in one of ISIS ‘s digital publication: Rumiyah (a digital magazine published by ISIS). The analytical focus is on three strategies of recruitment and intellectual polarization: (i) lexicalization, (ii) intertextual religionisation, and (iii) justification. Two main findings are revealed in this study. First, the application of CATA software into the linguistic investigation of texts contributes effectively to the understanding of the thematic and ideological messages pertaining to the analyzed text. Second, the computational analysis guarantees concise, credible, authentic and ample results than is the case if the analysis is conducted without the work of computer software. The paper, therefore, recommends the integration of CATA software into the linguistic analysis of the various types of texts.


CATA software, recruitment, polarization, ISIS, Rumiyah, ideology