PhD (Internal) – University of Copenhagen

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Simone Molin Friis

Simone Molin Friis

PhD fellow


I am a PhD Candidate at the Department of Political Science, and my research focuses on militant imagery, propaganda, and political violence.

My current project explores the virtual, online dimension of the war against the Islamic State. As part of this project, I have conducted in-depth studies of the Islamic State’s use of militant imagery and  propaganda, including the group’s production of execution- and recruitment videos.

My research addresses important security issues and dilemmas, such as online mobilization and the changing dynamics of terror-related communication in the digital age. Finally, I am currently working on a study of the initiatives aimed at countering the Islamic State’s online communication and imagery.

PhD Project: ‘Spectacles of Violence: Militant Imagery and the War against the Islamic State’ (Supervisor: Professor Lene Hansen).

Keywords: Islamic State; Militant Imagery; Propaganda; Execution Videos; Radicalization; Online Mobilization; Visual Security; Virtual Warfare; Counter-Terrorism Communication; Spectacles and Public Violence.

Funding and Affiliation

My research activities are part of the project ‘Images and International Security’ led by Professor Lene Hansen. Images and International Security was launched in 2014 and is funded by the Danish Council for Independent Research. The project is devoted to building new theory and empirical insights on why and how images influence international relations (for more information see

I am affiliated with ‘Centre for Advanced Security Theory’ ( and a member of the expert network associated with ‘Nationalt Center for Forebyggelse af Ekstremisme’.


The Syrian conflict: Emergent security phenomena and analytical approaches’. (Summer School 2017, with Maja Greenwood:

Visuelle Mediers betydning for krig og konflikt’. (MA-course, Autumn 2015:

Social Media



Latest op-ed: ’Islamisk Stats medie-jihad er mere end brutalitet’, 

Primary fields of research

  • International Relations and Security Studies.
  • Islamic State (media, videos, communication)
  • Execution videos and beheading videos.
  • Terror and spectacular violence.
  • Political violence, imagery and visibility.
  • The Islamic State, The War on Terror, and the Syrian conflict.
  • Modern warfare and contemporary media.

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