Extreme Britain w/ Dr Elizabeth Pearson, Rashad Ali, Dr David Duriesmith & Lizzie Dearden

1 May 2024 – 15:00 BST
King's College London
Room 1
Stewart House

The Gender Institute, PSA Specialist Group in Political Violence & Terrorism and the Conflict, Violence and Terrorism Research Centre are collaborating to present a round table discussion on the new book, Extreme Britain: Gender, Masculinity and Radicalisation by Elizabeth Pearson.

Moderated by Dr Akil N Awan.

About the book

Misogyny and ‘toxic masculinity’ are increasingly implicated in radicalisation. From the men’s incel (‘involuntary celibate’) movement online, to jihadist groups like Islamic State, to radical right ‘Free Speech’ protests —radicalisation spans ideologies. Though an often-used term, the process of radicalisation is not well understood, and the role of gender and masculinities has often been ignored. This book uses primary research among two of Britain’s key extremist movements: the banned Islamist group al-Muhajiroun, and those networked to it; and the anti-Islam radical right, including the English Defence League and Britain First, to reveal radicalisation as a masculinity project.

Through interviews with leaders including Anjem Choudary, Jayda Fransen and Tommy Robinson, as well as their followers, Extreme Britain explores the emergence of extreme misogyny and masculinities. Pearson situates extreme identities in wider social norms, showing how masculinities are mobilised into action. The book cautions against oversimplifying extreme masculinity as ‘toxic’. It demonstrates how both men and women ‘do’ extreme masculinities and the costs and benefits to them both of activism.

Understanding the men and women involved in extreme movements will better equip us to counter them. This fascinating study offers invaluable insight into some of their lives and motivations.

About the author

Elizabeth Pearson PhD, formerly a BBC radio journalist, is Lecturer in Criminology with the Conflict, Violence and Terrorism Research Centre at Royal Holloway, University of London, and an associate fellow with the Royal United Services Institute and the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism. She co-authored Countering Violent Extremism: Making Gender Matter.

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