1st Edition

Drumbeat New Media and the Radicalization and Militarization of Young People

By John Martino Copyright 2021
    186 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    186 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    As the twenty-first century unfolds society is confronted with the normalization of warfare and political violence and their growing allure for the young. Current global political events highlight the extent to which young people have become the target of both State and non-State actors in the prosecution of war and terror. The conduct of what we can refer to as "social war" has increasingly come to target the young through media (social media, the internet and video games) and more directly through acts of violence (the massacre of children, the reliance on child soldiers, and the use of children in martyrdom operations) as legitimate forms of conduct. The appropriation of the young as political and military materials through the processes of both radicalization and militarization warrants close examination. Drumbeat examines these issues within the context of the ongoing process of militarization and the establishment of a state of perpetual warfare. The book distinguishes between radicalization, which refers to the application of propaganda and ideological methods by non-State agents, and militarization, which refers to the application of propaganda and ideological methods by State agents in order to effectively prosecute war. The focus of this book will be an examination of the mechanisms through which forms of media and other digital and web-based artefacts – social media, video and video games - assist in the militarization and radicalization of the young.

    There is a growing body of evidence which points to the effectiveness of various forms of media in both the recruitment of young people and the promotion of ideological frames. For example, non-State actors (extremist religious groups and the Alt-Right) have been highly effective in appropriating new media to project their propaganda messages and their appeal to young people.

    The book also argues that militarization has become a powerful societal force, which is re-configuring the daily conduct of life in the West. Just as radicalization seeks to prepare the young for the conduct of war, militarization also functions to position the broader society for war. This is a new form of the "civilizing process" to which Norbert Elias referred. In this context new media provides the conduits through which this process is legitimized, celebrated and promulgated.


    1. Introduction.

    2. The Social War: Hybrid-warfare and the application of Social Media as perceptual weaponry

    3. Playing@War: Videogames, new media and modern warfare

    4. GoPro-war, live streaming and the gamification and cinematic construction of terror and armed conflict themed media

    5. Toughen Up: Cultural Politics and the hardening of youth

    6. The Corruption of language: "Radicalization"

    7. "Hell is empty. And all the devils are here.": Apocalyptic Thinking and the emergence of "Death Cults"

    8. Habitus & the mechanics of Militarization

    9. Militarization: The new "civilizing process".

    10. Conclusion.




    John Martino is a Senior Lecturer in the College of Education at Victoria University, Australia. He is the author of War/Play: Video Games and the Militarization of Society (Peter Lang 2015).