Confronting Incel: exploring possible policy responses to misogynistic violent extremism

Sian Tomkinson, Tauel Harper, Katie Attwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Sexually and socially frustrated ‘Incels’ have committed acts of violent extremism in North America and pose increasing threat to Australia and other industrialised settings. We consider policy responses to a form of misogynist violence that targets men and women indiscriminately. Provocatively, we advocate securitising Incel. We consider how securitisation need not only emerge from supportive framings in the media and public discourse, but can also be an active agent in creating them. We then engage with the appropriate responses. Reviewing the likely successful policy responses indicates the problematic nature of previous securitisation efforts. We argue that the best response is to try to understand and engage the antagonised other prior to radicalisation, and that this can be successfully enacted through ‘routine’ rather than ‘exceptional’ types of governance. However, securitisation remains a necessary first step in unlocking the resources and political will for tackling the threat that Incel poses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-169
Number of pages18
JournalAustralian Journal of Political Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2020
Externally publishedYes


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