Lunch Briefing Series: Lone Actors and Online Influences

Seminar 1: Lone Actors and Online Influences

Pyramid Room, 4th Floor, King’s College London, Strand Campus

Dr Paul Gill, Senior Lecturer in Security and Crime Science at VOX-Pol partner institution University College London, discusses the role of the Internet in lone actor terrorism.

Using a unique dataset of 227 convicted UK-based terrorists, this report fills a large gap in the existing literature. Using descriptive statistics, we first outline the degree to which various online activities related to radicalisation were present within the sample. The results illustrate the variance in behaviours often attributed to ‘online radicalisation’. Second, we conducted a smallest-space analysis to illustrate two clusters of commonly co-occurring behaviours that delineate behaviours from those directly associated with attack planning. Third, we conduct a series of bivariate and multivariate analyses to question whether those who interact virtually with like-minded individuals or learn online, exhibit markedly different experiences (e.g. radicalisation, event preparation, attack outcomes) than those who do not.

This research was funded by VOX-Pol and is the subject of a VOX-Pol report, which is available HERE.


Speaker Biography

Dr. Paul Gill is a Senior Lecturer in Security and Crime Science at University College London (UCL). Previous to joining UCL, Dr. Gill was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the International Center for the Study of Terrorism at Pennsylvania State University. He conducted research funded by the Office for Naval Research, the Department of Homeland Security, DSTL, the European Union, and the National Institute of Justice. These projects focused upon various aspects of terrorist behaviour including IED development, creativity, terrorist network structures, and lone-actor terrorism.

His doctoral research focused on the underlying individual and organisational motivations behind suicide bombing. This piece of research won the Jean Blondel Prize for the best Ph.D. thesis in Political Science in Europe for 2010. He has published in leading psychology, criminology and political science journals.

Dr. Gills holds a Ph.D. in Political Science, an M.A. in International Relations, and a BSocSc(Int) from the School of Politics and International Relations in University College Dublin, Ireland.

1:15 pm - 2:30 pm
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