Muslim Immigrants’ Television Use and Support for Terrorism
By Sandy Schumann
(in coll. with Danny Osbourne, Benjamin Fell, & Miles Hewstone)
Public opinion polls of Muslim immigrants in the West show that the overwhelming majority rejects terrorism. We focus on the small proportion that endorses terrorist action; they may facilitate the emergence of radical milieus and, thereby, radicalisation. Acculturation challenges have been found to be related with immigrants’ approval of terrorism. Advancing the literature, we draw on work that points to the role of mass media use in the acculturation process. More precisely, we explored how Muslim immigrants’ host society and ethnic television consumption is associated with support for terrorist action as a form of political protest. We conducted a secondary analysis of a survey of immigrants in the United Kingdom who described themselves as Muslim (N = 880). Applying a latent class analysis, we identified four groups of immigrants with distinct television consumption patterns. Respondents who frequently used British and ethnic channels were most likely to endorse terrorism. Specifically, although ‘frequent host society media users’ were least likely to approve of terrorist action, host society television consumption did not serve as a buffer against endorsement of terrorism. Ethnic media use, in turn, was conducive of an increased sympathy with terrorist action when combined with frequent host society television consumption.
Sandy Schumann (PhD) is a post-doctoral research associate at University College London, Department of Security and Crime Science. Her research explores processes of normative and non-normative social change, focusing (as well) on the role of technology and media. Following a PhD in Social Psychology at ULB, Sandy worked as a post-doc at the Oxford Centre for the Study of Intergroup Conflict where she studied the effects of intergroup contact in a digital context. She currently leads a multi-method, interdisciplinary project that seeks to examine the social-ecology (that is, ‘places’) of radicalisation; she further investigates the role of media use in the development of populist attitudes and support of terrorism.