Professor, Coventry University

Joel Busher is Professor of Political Sociology at the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations (CTPSR), Coventry University. His primary research interests are in anti-minority activism, the dynamics of political violence and restraint, and the enactment of security policy and its societal impacts. He has published extensively on these topics, and his book, The Making of Anti-Muslim Protest (Routledge), was awarded the British Sociological Association’s Philip Abrams Memorial Prize.

He frequently presents to and advises policymakers and practitioners at local, national and international levels. He is an Associate Editor of Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression; and an Expert Consultant on the International Consensus Guidelines Committee of the Canadian Practitioners Network for the Prevention of Radicalization and Extremist Violence (CPN-PREV).

Joel has previously been PI on the CREST-funded project, ‘Hot Periods’ Of Anti-Minority Activism And The Threat Of Violent Domestic Extremism: Towards An Assessment Framework, The Internal Brakes on Violent Escalation, and is currently Co-I on the CREST-funded project, Evaluating Security Interventions in Public Locations.

He tweets @joel_busher



Why Even Misleading Identity Claims Matter: The Evolution of the English Defence League

When activists in radical, far or extreme right groups claim identities that set them apart from such analytical categories, they are usually given short shrift by commentators and academics, a function of the presumed strategic nature of such claims and the evidential inaccuracies that scrutiny of such claims often reveals. Such responses help ensure critical readings of these groups. However, they also risk overlooking the fact that even where such identifications appear misleading, they may still be causally significant, shaping the groups’ evolution in important ways. I develop this argument using the case of the English Defence League, a group whose activists have tended to claim they are a ‘single-issue group’ protesting only about the supposed threats of ‘Islamification’. I demonstrate how their enactment of this identity, while uneven and erratic, shaped the emergent movement culture, tactical repertoires, intra-movement relations and, ultimately, the ebb and flow of movement viability.

(From the journal abstract)

Busher, J. (2018). Why Even Misleading Identity Claims Matter: The Evolution of the English Defence League. Political Studies, 66(2), 323–338.

Author: Joel Busher

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