New CASS Partnership to Work on Mapping Online Far-Right Networks

Research staff from the ESRC-Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science (CASS), Lancaster University and the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR), King’s College London begin 2015 by undertaking a joint research project which aims to map the networks in which UK-based far-right Twitter accounts operate.

The research team is Joseph Carter – Research Fellow at ICSR, Mark McGlashan – Senior Research Associate at CASS, and; Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens – Head of Research and Information at ICSR. The collaborative research partnership is facilitated by the VOX-Pol Researcher Exchange Programme and CASS, and aims to establish a long-term relationship between the centres and staff.

The partnership brings together complementary research interests that have been explored extensively at both research centres, namely behaviours associated with, amongst others,  extremist political ideologies, nationalism, and (cultural) racism. However, the ways in which these phenomena have been explored at both centres are widely different. The primary focus of the research done at CASS is on the (quantitative) linguistic aspects of, for example, anti-Muslim rhetoric, and explores these primarily through corpus linguistic methods. Whereas, the research at ICSR has centred on examining the political radicalisation with a wider methodological remit, which includes social network analysis, media analysis, and discourse analysis.

The partnership brings together these different research interests on a project which combines aspects of Corpus Linguistics with Social Network Analysis to give both qualitative and quantitative analyses of the online UK far-right as it exists on Twitter. The research will give an overall snapshot of the online behaviour of those who affiliate with the far-right in an online context with findings being channelled towards policy makers, academic and non-academic audiences and into further collaborative research.