Context Column


VOX-Pol Network of Excellence

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.
VOX-Pol’s interest is in exploring how violent extremist politics plays out 'online', by which is generally meant the internet. "Violent extremists" refers to people that employ or advocate physical violence against other individuals and groups to forward their political objectives.
The aim of the VOX-Pol Network of Excellence (NoE) is the comprehensive exploration of the many varieties of Violent Online Political Extremism, its societal impacts, and responses to it. To this end, project partners combine complementary expertise from a range of disciplines (e.g. Communications, Computer Science, Criminology, Ethics, International Relations, Politics). VOX-Pol’s purpose is the establishment of a robust partnering, research, training, and dissemination network that has as its core function comprehensive research, analysis, debate, and critique of topics in and issues surrounding Violent Online Political Extremism.

Among the specific objectives of the project are:

  • Creation and development of long-term relationships between established national research groups and new researchers and research groups;
  • Creation of a sustainable critical mass of innovative research activity amongst what is currently a growing, but fragmented group of researchers and research topics;
  • Harnessing and refining software tools generally employed in other domains to collect and analyse Violent Online Political Extremism content;
  • Provision of training in tools, methods and substantive issues relating to Violent Online Political Extremism to other researchers, including PhD students and early career researchers, and those professionally tasked with monitoring and/or responding to Violent Online Political Extremism, via conferences, summer schools, and workshops;
  • Raising awareness of the challenges of research and decision-making in this area by exploring the interplay of e-research ethics, privacy, surveillance, freedom of speech, and practices of and responses to Violent Online Political Extremism;
  • Outreach to diverse publics, via contributions to mass media, public lectures and other public events, free-to-access publications, etc., describing our research and its purposes;
  • Ensuring that EU and member states’ strategies and policies targeting Violent Online Political Extremism are based on concrete evidence, experience, and knowledge about the contours and workings of Violent Online Political Extremism, and not untested assumptions, thus increasing the likelihood of success of such strategies and policies.

The IFSH has been tasked with activities covering several areas: the mobility and training of junior and senior researchers; the establishment of a contact database for the project and a survey of the state of VOPE research within the EU; an overview of the state of the art of radicalization research; research into the internet strategies of extreme right-wing groups and their impacts; and an overview of critique of VOPE discourse.


Publications of project members

Publication single view

Book Chapter

Title: Brexit: The Mainstreaming of Right-Wing Populist Discourse
Author(s): Reem Ahmed
Editor(s): Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg/ IFSH
Year: 2017
Number: 2016
Series: OSCE Yearbook
Pages: 93-105
Publisher: Nomos Verlag
Publisher address: Baden-Baden
Language: English
Citation ID: BA-03610-2017
Tags: Vox-Pol, Innerstaatliche Gewaltpotenziale
Affiliation(s): Published in translation as BA-03717-2018