Document Type

Senior Thesis

Publication Date



This paper aimed to answer the question, what role has social media played in violence perpetrated by Incels?

Incels, or Involuntary celibates, are members of an online subculture who define themselves as unable to find sexual partners. Incels have been responsible for a number of violent attacks and mass killings in recent years.

This exploration involved a content analysis of online incel forums such as such as reddit and 4-chan, and of news articles about incel attacks. The content analysis of social media examined incel ideology and online rhetoric of hate and violence; while the analysis of news articles examined attacks by various offenders with ties to the incel movement, and their social media activity.

This exploration found three primary conclusions. Firstly, social media was key in forming incels as a hate group because it connected them and provided a community conducive to radicalization. Secondly, social media played a crucial role in fostering violence perpetrated by incels due to positive reinforcement of violent rhetoric, and the idolization of past offenders. Finally, incels pose a growing threat and have connections to other ideologically far right groups such as white supremacists. This research asserts that incel violence should be considered alongside other misogynistic attacks such as rejection killings and sexual violence, and as part of a larger wave of far right violence, altogether representing a present threat worthy of more peace research.


BA in Peace Studies senior thesis, presented May 2019.


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