Just look at the pictures: Imagery use in jihadi magazines, 1984-2022

A sandwich lunch will be provided

Propaganda is widely believed to be a force multiplier for rebel groups, but the unwieldiness of audiovisual data has made it difficult to examine in replicable ways. In this working paper, I try to specify the quantity and quality of imagery use in radical Islamist propaganda by deploying layout parsing and image classification tools on a near-complete collection of jihadi magazines from 1984 to the present day (~2000 issues). The findings corroborate the observation from qualitative research that jihadi magazines have become more graphical over time, but also highlight less obvious patterns relating to image content, colour palettes, and more. The paper illustrates the growing wieldiness of image data, which bodes well for the study of visual aspects of politics.