Meet Dr Lella Nouri
Senior Lecturer Criminology
“I AM A Pioneer
It’s vital we understand the growing spread and reach of far-right extremist groups online. Only then will we get the chance to stop the growth of hate speech and action by these groups.
In today’s world, it’s hard to ignore the growing presence of extremism. That’s why it’s vital we uncover why far-right extremist groups have such a significant online presence and why their message is being so widely shared. Only then will we get the chance to stop the growth of hate speech and action by extremist groups online. Right now, I’m leading a team that’s examining how and why far-right terrorist groups use the internet to spread their message as well as how these groups differ. And thanks to its interdisciplinary focus, I truly believe Swansea is the only place I could carry out my research.
The Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law has an extensive network, and fantastic industry links – something that has really helped move my research along. But the real beauty of this university is that you never feel confined to one department. Everyone here works together in a way that is truly unique to Swansea. On this project alone, I’ve been lucky enough to work with Swansea University-based experts who study how language is used by extremists to disseminate their messages.
Once I’d gained a Master’s degree in International Relations and a PhD in Politics, ‘my interest in terrorists’ uses of the internet’ really took off. Then, after working as a Criminology Tutor, I took up a permanent position as a Criminology Lecturer at Swansea in 2015. This particular area of research kick-started after a conversation I had with counter-terrorism experts. They wanted to know more about how far-right groups’ use of social media translates to violence on the ground. And this is what I’ve been dedicated to uncovering ever since.
Today, our research is already having an impact. The work of the Cyberterrorism Project has been sent to NATO and the Home Office, so our opinions are being heard by the correct people. But to make sure any future terrorism research is as impactful as possible, we need a more balanced perspective. This particular field is still heavily male-dominated, so we really must encourage more women to get involved – to help shine a new and much-needed light on this vital area of research.
My dream is that one day, what we do will change how we understand extremism and improve the ways we prevent violent behaviour. And I know this will happen faster if more people are approaching the problem in a collaborative, interdisciplinary way.”
I believe that collaboration is the key to change.
Dr Lella Nouri