The VOX-Pol Network of Excellence (NoE) is a European Union Framework Programme 7 (FP7)-funded academic research network focused on researching the prevalence, contours, functions, and impacts of Violent Online Political Extremism and responses to it.
Led by Dr. Maura Conway from the DCU School of Law and Government with Lisa McInerney as Project Manager, the aim of VOX-Pol is the comprehensive exploration of the many varieties of Violent Online Political Extremism, its societal impacts, and responses to it.
“We’re interested in IS of course but also the whole range of violent extremism that can be see online across social media. There’s a lot of media coverage on this topic but a lot of it can be quite surface and there’s an assumption on the part of the policy makers that the Internet plays a very significant role contemporarily,” says Dr. Conway.
The issue, she explains, is that there is no level of certainty about the extent of the Internet’s role in violent extremism but from a media perspective it “makes a good story”.
“Many people, including myself, do believe that it is paying a relatively significant role but from a social science and academic perspective not enough work has been done in terms of what level of significance the Internet plays in contemporary radicalisation processes; if it is playing a role, what is that and how does it work?”
These questions are amongst the many that drive the research within VOX-Pol, which is based primarily in DCU, working with seven collaborating institutions including the University of Amsterdam, Hamburg University, the Oxford Internet Institute and King’s College London.