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Personal profile


Joel joined CTPSR in September 2014.His current research addresses three main areas:

1) The social ecology of political violence and anti-outsider politics

Joel's initial work in this area comprised an ethnographic analysis of anti-minority activism, resulting in his monograph 'The Making of Anti-Muslim Protest: Grassroots Activism in the English Defence League', for which he was awarded the British Sociological Association’s Philip Abrams Memorial Prize, 2016. His research here addresses questions about how and why people become involved in anti-minority activism; what sustains, energises or undermines such activism, and how it evolves through interaction with other actors.

He has subsequently carried out mixed-methods research on the dyanmics of anti-minority politics; theoretical and empirical work on processes of 'cumulative extremism' or 'interactive escalation' and is currently PI on a project on the 'Internal Brakes on Violent Escalation', funded by the Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST).

2) The implementation of counter-terrorism policy and its societal impacts

Joel has led research on the interpretation and implementation of the Prevent duty in schools and colleges. This research, funded by the Aziz Foundation, gave rise in 2017 to the first major public report on this topic. He has presented on this research to a range of national and international academic and policy practitioner audiences. He is currently working with a network of local authorities across the UK to explore how they respond to, interpret and implement counter-terrorism and counter-extremism policy.

3) The Brexit journeys of British people living in Spain

Joel is currently undertaking a British Academy-funded project about the Brexit journeys of British people living in Spain - 'Costa del Brexit'. The project uses repeat narrative interviews to explore how British people living in Spain are navigating the uncertainties that Brexit entails.

What links his work across these areas is a broader empirical and theoretical interest in the processes of mobilization and collective action and how these intersect with the everyday efforts of human beings to live what they consider to be good lives. As well as generating research publications, Joel’s research has led to frequent and on going engagement with policy and practitioner communities at local, national and international levels.

Prior to joining CTPSR, Joel held research fellowships at the University of Huddersfield and the University of East London, and worked as an analyst for the Defence Science Technology Laboratory (DSTL). He holds a PhD in Development Studies from the University of East Anglia and an MA in Philosophy and Italian from The University of Edinburgh. He is a fluent Spanish speaker.

Research Interests

Social movements; Mobilization; Political violence; Anti-minority protest; Counter-terrorism; National and transnational identities and belonging; Moral orders; Discrimination; Inequalities; Relational-sociology; Mixed methods

Vision Statement

The broad aim of my research is to document and enhance understanding of how human interaction – the rituals that shape and comprise our everyday lives; the cognitive and moral orders that we make, break and patch together again; and the emotional rhythms of our lives – gives rise to or undermines harmonious social relations and human well-being.

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2010 2019

Chicken suits and other aspects of situated credibility contests: Explaining local trajectories of anti-minority activism

Busher, J., Harris, G. & Macklin, G. 1 Jan 2019 In : Social Movement Studies. 18, 2, p. 193-214 22 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

political right
welfare organization

The internal brakes on violent escalation: a typology

Busher, J., Holbrook, D. & Macklin, G. 1 Jan 2019 In : Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression. 11, 1, p. 3-25 23 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

liberation movement
3 Citations

Hopes and Fears: Community cohesion and the ‘White working class’ in one of the ‘failed spaces’ of multiculturalism

Thomas, P., Busher, J., Macklin, G., Rogerson, M. & Christmann, K. 1 Apr 2018 In : Sociology. 52, 2, p. 262-281 20 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
multicultural society
working class
accompanying medium

Introduction: The Emotional Dynamics of Backlash Politics beyond Anger, Hate, Fear, Pride, and Loss

Busher, J., Giurlando, P. & Sullivan, G. B. 1 Nov 2018 In : Humanity & Society. 42, 4, p. 399-409 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Activities 2013 2015

  • 4 Participation in conference
  • 1 Participation in workshop, seminar, course

Bedfordshire Cohesion Conference

Busher, J. (Keynote Speaker)
26 Nov 2015

Activity: Participation in conference

Contradictions: Envisioning European Futures

Busher, J. (Speaker)
8 Jul 201510 Jul 2015

Activity: Participation in conference

The Christian Muslim Encounters: Research Symposium

Busher, J. (Participant)
7 May 2014

Activity: Participation in workshop, seminar, course

15th National Metropolis Conference Building an Integrated Society

Busher, J. (Participant)
14 Mar 201316 Mar 2013

Activity: Participation in conference

ESRC knowledge exchange workshop

Busher, J. (Speaker)
14 Feb 2013

Activity: Participation in conference


Philip Abrams Memorial Prize (British Sociological Association)

Joel Busher (Recipient), 7 Apr 2016

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)