Closing date: 3 February 2020

Swansea University, supported by the ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership for Wales (Wales DTP), invites applications for funded PhD study, available to start in October 2020. The following collaborative studentship is available in the Criminology pathway of the Wales DTP:

‘Gender in the Online Far Right: Mapping Transnational Linkages and Fractures’ in collaboration with the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI).

Both academic research and policy have historically neglected the role of gender in extremism and terrorism. Yet this situation is changing. There are growing calls for more work exploring not just the role of women in extreme movements, but of masculinities and femininities. Following recent far right attacks utilising social media, such as that in Christchurch, New Zealand, there is a fresh impetus for research. In particular, authors point to the importance of regressive gender politics in the constitution of far right ideologies of identitarians, incels and others. Yet far right movements also attract women, including as leaders. As new movements mobilise against communities including migrants, Muslims, feminists, and LGBQT people in the online space, there are significant gaps in knowledge. In particular, the digital age has enabled the global transmission of gendered far-right practices and narratives, and the far-right is increasingly designated a ‘transnational’ movement. Yet, there is little work which identifies, maps and details the specific gendered ways in which ideas, actions and actors online ‘cross borders’.

This project addresses this gap. Its aim is twofold: to analyse online English language textual data and to map far right social media networks, in order to identify the precise means by which far right narratives and actions spread transnationally. Platforms to be studied include YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. From a starting point of key influencers with a known transnational following, such as Colin Robertson (aka “Millennial Woes”), the work will identify further key individuals, contemporary groups and movements, and the nodes through which transnational networks connect. The student will use tools including GEPHI and PYTHON to identify the (mainstream) discourses intersecting with far right movements and ask, how does gender politics within the far right intersect with local political institutions? Which narratives are shared, and in which directions? During this mapping phase, textual data will be gathered for discourse analysis. The research therefore emphasizes the ways in which online extremism is embedded in, and not distinct from wider social norms.

The student will undertake this study of contemporary online far right movements drawing on existing literatures on online, the far right, and gender. It is expected that the resulting research will contribute to a deeper understanding of the contours of the online far right, and the intricacies of gender within them. It will also inform government policy on counter-narratives, and social media companies’ efforts to combat extremism on their platforms.

We welcome applications for both full and part-time study, and studentships are available as either ‘1+3’ (i.e. one full time year of research training Masters followed by three years of full-time doctoral study, or the part-time equivalent), or ‘+3’ (i.e. three years of full-time doctoral study or its part-time equivalent), depending on the needs of the applicant. Swansea University values diversity and equality at all levels and encourages applications from all sections of the community.

Begin your postgraduate research journey at Swansea University: a top 30 research university (REF 2014) producing internationally recognised research that makes a real difference to society. We provide a welcoming environment for PhD researchers with specialist training, advice and development opportunities. As an ESRC Wales DTP researcher, you will also benefit from cohort-based networking events and dedicated ESRC Wales DTP student representatives at each campus.

Supervision

These studentships are ‘collaborative’ awards. Applicants should take careful consideration of the working title and description of the project, and may wish to contact the named supervisor and / or the Swansea pathway contact for a discussion prior to applying. They are:

For more details please see here: https://www.swansea.ac.uk/postgraduate/scholarships/research/criminology-esrc-dtp-collaborative-2020---php

Administrative Contacts & How To Apply

The application must contain the following documents and be submitted to [email protected]:

  1. Covering letter: Please address to Dr Caroline Jones. The covering letter must set out your reasons and motivation for applying to study at Swansea University, and the chosen pathway; your understanding, and expectations of doctoral study; your academic interests generally, and particularly how these relate to the description of the project supplied. The covering letter should be no more than two pages. Please specify whether you wish to apply on a ‘+3’ or ‘1+3’ basis. Remember also to specify that your application concerns ESRC Wales DTP collaborative studentships and include in your application the title of the project to which you are applying.
  2. Academic / professional qualifications: Please provide copies of certificates and transcripts. Where appropriate, this should also include proof of English Language Competency (7.0 IELTS minimum).
  3. References: All applications require two academic references to be submitted in support. Candidates must approach referees themselves, and submit the references with their application.
  4. Curriculum Vitae: It should be no longer than two pages.
  5. Research Proposal: For collaborative studentships, the proposal should build directly on the outline description that has been supplied. The proposal should be up to a maximum of 1,000 words, not including bibliographic references. We suggest that you use the following five headings in your research proposal:
  • Your reflections on the title, aims and purpose of the research;
  • An overview of some key research literature relevant to the study;
  • Your proposals for developing the design and methods of the study;
  • A description of potential outcomes of the project for understanding, knowledge, policy and practice (as appropriate to the topic);
  • Bibliographic references.

Please note that incomplete applications or applications received after the specified time will not be accepted.

The deadline for applications is 12 noon on 3 February 2020.

Informal enquiries about these studentships are welcome, and should be directed to Dr Caroline Jones ([email protected]).

Short-listed applicants will be invited to interview; interviews are expected to take place in March 2020. After interview, a final shortlist of applicants will be put forward to a Panel convened by the ESRC Wales DTP Management Group at which final decisions with regard to studentship awards will be made. In most cases, successful applicants can expect to hear by mid-April 2020.

Entry Requirements

Residential eligibility:

Full awards (fees plus maintenance stipend) are open to UK Nationals and EU students who can satisfy UK residency requirements. You must:

  • be ordinarily resident in the UK, meaning there are no restrictions on how long you can stay, and
  • have been ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK for at least three years prior to the start of the studentship grant. This means you must have been normally residing in the UK (apart from temporary or occasional absences), and
  • not have been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education. (This does not apply to UK nationals and EU nationals who were ordinarily resident in the EU immediately before the period of full-time education).

Due to funding restrictions, these scholarships are not open to international candidates.

Academic eligibility:

ESRC studentships are highly competitive. Candidates should have an excellent background in the social sciences, holding a 1st or upper 2nd class degree; applications from those also holding a relevant research training Master’s degree (or an equivalent background in research training) will be considered for a ‘+3’ award.

Employment:

Full-time ESRC studentship award holders cannot hold either a full-time job, or a permanent part-time job, during the period of their award. Part-time ESRC studentship award holders cannot hold a full-time job.

Funding Notes

The studentship provides the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees and an annual stipend. There will be additional funds available for research expenses.

Studentship awards commence in October 2020 and will cover your tuition fees as well as a maintenance grant (currently £15,009 per annum for 2019/20 for full-time students, updated each year) and includes access to an additional Research Training Support Grant (RTSG). There are other opportunities and benefits available to studentship holders, including an overseas fieldwork allowance (if applicable), internship opportunities, oversea institutional visits and other small grants.

A ‘1+3’ studentship provides funding for four years (or part-time equivalent), completing a research training Master’s in the 1st year, followed by 3 years research funding for a PhD. A ‘+3’ studentship provides funding for the three years PhD research study only (or part-time equivalent).

Funding Information

Funding applies to:

UK Nationals and EU students who can satisfy UK residency requirements.

Application Deadline:

3 February 2020

Please see our website for how to apply:
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