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The dark side of political marketing: Islamist propaganda, Reversal Theory and British Muslims

Paul R. Baines (Cranfield University, Cranfield, UK)
Nicholas J. O'Shaughnessy (Queen Mary, University of London, London, UK)
Kevin Moloney (Bournemouth University, Poole, UK)
Barry Richards (Bournemouth University, Poole, UK)
Sara Butler (Ipsos MORI, London, UK)
Mark Gill (Woodnewton Associates, London, UK)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 6 April 2010




The purpose of this paper is to discuss exploratory research into the perceptions of British Muslims towards Islamist ideological messaging to contribute to the general debate on “radicalisation”.


Four focus groups were undertaken with a mixture of Bangladeshi and Pakistani British Muslims who were shown a selection of Islamist propaganda media clips, garnered from the internet.


The paper proposess that Islamist communications focus on eliciting change in emotional states, specifically inducing the paratelic‐excitement mode, by focusing around a meta‐narrative of Muslims as a unitary grouping self‐defined as victim to Western aggression. It concludes that British Muslim respondents were unsympathetic to the Islamist ideological messaging contained in the sample of propaganda clips.


The paper provides an insight into how British Muslims might respond to Islamist communications, indicating that, while most are not susceptible to inducement of paratelic‐excitement, others are likely to be, dependent on which genre of clip is used, the messages contained therein, and who that clip is targeted at.



Baines, P.R., O'Shaughnessy, N.J., Moloney, K., Richards, B., Butler, S. and Gill, M. (2010), "The dark side of political marketing: Islamist propaganda, Reversal Theory and British Muslims", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 44 No. 3/4, pp. 478-495.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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