Donald Holbrook

Lecturer in Politics/International Relations and Religion, Lancaster University

Donald Holbrook is a lecturer at the Department of Politics, Philosophy, and Religion at Lancaster University and a Visiting Fellow at International Centre for Counter-Terrorism, The Hague. Prior to that he was Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, University of St Andrews, which he joined in 2008.

His research has focused mostly on beliefs, ideas, and media in the context of terrorism and political violence, especially on how terrorists interact with published media and social media and how this engagement has changed over time.

He has published on a wide variety of topics relating to these themes, including a book, edited volumes, journal articles, as well as reports and other deliverables for counterterrorism practitioners and policymakers.

He currently manages a large-scale research project dissecting ways in which individuals involved in terrorism use different types of media, developing case studies and thematic analyses of different ideological milieus (including far-right and Islamist extremism), different types of activity (including domestic terrorism and ‘foreign fighters’) and different organisational contexts (such as groups versus lone actors), as well as comparisons across sections.

Personal webpage



  • Holbrook, D. (ed.) (forthcoming) Al-Qaeda 2.0: A Critical Reader, Hurst, London.
  • Holbrook, D. (2014) The Al-Qaeda Doctrine: The Framing and Evolution of the Leadership’s Public Discourse, Bloomsbury: NY
  • Holbrook, D.; Taylor, M. and Currie, PM (eds.) (2013) Extreme Right-Wing Political Violence and Terrorism, Bloomsbury: NY.


  • Holbrook, D. (2016) ‘Al-Qaeda’s Grievances in Context: Reconciling Sharia and Society’, International Relations (30:4, pp. 473-493).
  • Holbrook, D. (2016) “Just Terror’: Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and the Boundaries of Legitimate Warfare’ Journal of the Oxford Centre for Socio-Legal Studies (vol. 2, iss. 1),
  • Holbrook, D. (2015) ‘Designing and Applying an “Extremist Media Index”, Perspectives on Terrorism, October.
  • Holbrook, D. (2015) ‘A critical analysis of the role of the internet in the preparation and planning of acts of terrorism’ in Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict (special issue on Computer-Assisted Terrorism) (vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 121–133)
  • Holbrook, D. (2015) ‘Al-Qaeda and the Rise of ISIS’ in Survival (57:2, pp. 93–104)
  • Ramsay, G. & Holbrook, D. (2015) ‘The representation of violence by insurgent political actors: the “violent” part of “violent extremism”?’ in Behavioural Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression (7:1, pp. 84–96).
  • Holbrook, D. (2014) ‘Approaching terrorist public relations initiatives’ in Public Relations Inquiry special issue on ‘Propaganda, terrorism and ethics’ (3:2, pp. 141-161)
  • Holbrook, D & Taylor, M. (2014) ‘Developing Grading Processes for Ideological Content’ in Journal of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism (9:1, pp. 32-47).
  • Holbrook, D. (2013) ‘Alienating the Grassroots: Looking Back at Al Qaeda’s Communicative Approach Toward Muslim Audiences’ in Studies in Conflict and Terrorism (vol. 36, pp. 883–898).
  • Holbrook, D; Ramsay, G and Taylor, M. (2013) “Terroristic Content” – Towards a Grading Scale’, in Terrorism and Political Violence (vol. 25, pp. 202–223).
  • ‘Holbrook, D. (2012) ‘Al-Qaeda’s Response to the Arab Spring’ in Perspectives on Terrorism (vol. 6, no. 6, 2012).
  • Holbrook, D. (2010) ‘Using the Qur’an to Justify Terrorist Violence: Analysing Selective Application of the Qur’an in English-Language Militant Islamist Discourse’ in Perspectives on Terrorism (4:3)

Book Chapters

Tags from the story
, ,