"How Proximity and Space Matter: Exploring Geographical & Social Contexts of Radicalisation in Northern Ireland." Paper presented at the British Society of Criminology Annual Conference, 2021.

  • Emma Ylitalo-James (Speaker)
  • Silke, A. (Speaker)

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference


Northern Ireland has provided considerable evidence on a range of factors that can play significant roles in radicalisation processes. Some of this previous work has examined issues around exposure to violence and the impact of community dynamics. This study follows on such research and explores in particular the potential impact of geographical proximity to community borders and interfaces in radicalisation processes. In-depth interviews were carried out with 17 former active paramilitaries and 12 paramilitary sympathizers. The interviews explored issues related to geography, space and proximity and how these linked with individuals becoming actively involved with paramilitary groups or alternatively being sympathetic to such groups but not becoming active. The findings confirmed that geographic proximity to intercommunity violence flashpoints and interfaces was associated with increased paramilitary involvement. Thematic analysis found this effect was mediated by two additional factors: levels of exposure to violence and levels of community isolation. The findings are discussed in relation to the wider literature on radicalisation and in relation to potential policy implications.
Period7 Jul 20219 Jul 2021
Event typeConference
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • radicalisation
  • terrorism
  • Northern Ireland
  • Northern Ireland Troubles
  • causes of radicalisation