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Policing PhD project opportunities with IPPPRI

Find out more about self-funded PhD projects in areas where we already have supervisors active and engaged in the research topic in our International Policing and Public Protection Research Institute (IPPPRI).

Project outline

Online extremism has become one of the most pressing issues in modern times. Recent research conducted within the UK Prevent early de-radicalisation scheme has shown that all Prevent referrals received (over the last four years) have been characterised by “a certain degree of online self-radicalisation” (Orofino’s interviews with Prevent practitioners, 2022).

Non-violent extremist groups share the same ideological framework of the terror counterparts but they reject the use of violence. However, their ideology has proved to have detrimental effect on some individuals who have chosen to go down the terror-path. Several violent episodes have occurred over the last decade – mostly perpetrated by self-initiated individuals who were radicalised online, e.g. the misogynistic Plymouth shooting in 2021.

These individuals usually start their path towards violence by accessing material posted by non-violent extremist groups who legally disseminate their ideas in the online space (Keatley, Knight, & Marono, 2021). However, the online presence of non-violent groups is often neglected in favour of an almost exclusive focus on more explicitly violent groups which hinders a deeper exploration of this threat and its effects both online and offline (Orofino and Allchorn, 2023).

Key objectives

In light of this lacuna and the pressing importance of studying such groups, this research project proposes a deep qualitative and quantitative dive into the online subcultures of a key inflection point that acts as a common denominator for most forms of violent extremism and terrorism – extreme misogyny (otherwise referred to as the Manosphere) in the UK (Hudson and Hodgson 2020; Kimmel, 2018).

It aims to map the violent rhetoric of non-violent UK-based Incel groups, and therefore the key threat markers that might suggest a tipping point towards violence. More precisely, this project has three key objectives:

  1. Analyse the narratives leading segments of British population towards extreme misogyny
  2. Explore the role of vocal extreme misogynistic groups as triggers towards violent extremism
  3. Provide deeper insights into “Inceldom” sub-cultures in specific online eco-systems
Read more about project outline.

Where you'll study

Chelmsford

Funding

This project is self-funded.

Details of studentships for which funding is available are selected by a competitive process and are advertised on our jobs website as they become available.

Next steps

If you have an enquiry about applying for a research degree, please email [email protected]

For administrative enquiries about our research courses please email [email protected]

Responsibility for the administration of research degrees is held by the Doctoral School.

If you have an idea for a project that does not align with one of the pre-defined projects above, please contact us at [email protected]