Exploring the role of the internet in the radicalisation process and offending of individuals convicted of extremist offences

Kenyon, J., 2020. Exploring the role of the internet in the radicalisation process and offending of individuals convicted of extremist offences. DPsych, Nottingham Trent University.

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Abstract

Individuals holding extremist views are often considered as having exploited the Internet to spread their ideas, recruit others and communicate with one another. The threat of online radicalisation is also one of the most ubiquitous topics of academic and policy debates within the terrorism field. Through an overarching focus on the role of the Internet in the radicalisation process and offending of those who have committed extremist offences, the findings from this thesis have the potential to influence policy, inform counter-terrorism measures and effect changes in forensic practice in the identification, assessment and management of these individuals.

This thesis provides an original contribution to the literature by addressing the following:

1) The role of the Internet in the radicalisation process and offending of individuals convicted of extremist offences in the UK using a substantial data set and unique data source of 269 Structured Risk Guidance (SRG) and Extremism Risk Guidance (ERG22+) reports;

2) Reviewing the literature on lone actor terrorists, a sub group of extremist offender where Internet use is assumed to be particularly prominent given their lack of contacts and influence in offline settings;

3) Providing recommendations for policy makers and forensic practitioners for those at risk of online radicalisation and those who have committed extremist offences.

This is accomplished via the contribution of two original pieces of work, a systematic literature review of pathways to lone actor terrorism and an empirical study exploring the role of the Internet in radicalisation pathways and offending of individuals who have committed extremist offences.

Within the systematic review, a lack of clarity is uncovered over definitions of lone actor terrorism, along with the emergence of typologies for differentiating between various forms of lone actor terrorists. An original contribution is made to the debate on pathways to lone actor terrorism by identifying six stages that shape lone actor behaviour, including use of the Internet. Similarities are also found between lone actor terrorists and other lone offender types, as well as comparatively high prevalence of mental health issues and personality disorder. The empirical study illustrates the increasing relevance of online radicalisation and online activity within extremist offending, suggesting the Internet has altered the means by which radicalisation is now taking place. Not only have there been changes in the way the Internet is used, but also a different profile of individual is now becoming susceptible to radicalisation through the online space, resulting in different types of offences and a range of considerations for assessment and management of risk.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Kenyon, J.
Date: March 2020
Rights: This work is the intellectual property of the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed in the owner(s) of the Intellectual Property Rights.
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Laura Ward
Date Added: 23 Sep 2021 09:23
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2021 09:47
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/44237

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