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Anti-vaxxers, Incels and QAnon | Drs Ben Rich and Eva Bujalka


The last few years have seen dramatic growth in the popularity of these extremist groups. How will they affect society in the future?

In this episode, Jessica is joined by Doctors Ben Rich and Eva Bujalka, Co-directors of the Curtin Extremism Research Network (CERN). 

Together, they explain how these three different groups share some commonalities, as they are emblematic of growth in social media use, salad bar ideologies and red pill philosophy. They also address why it is problematic to brand people from these groups as “violent” when most are nonviolent and predict whether these groups are here to stay or if new extremist groups will take their place.

CERN is a new research network based in Western Australia that is investigating extremism-related challenges in the developed world. 

  • Origins of the COVID anti-vax movement, incels (“involuntary celibates”) and QAnon [01:10]
  • Unpacking the intersecting philosophical and ideological beliefs [05:14]
  • Why current approaches to treating people from these groups may have backfired, and what we should be doing instead [09:01]
  • Where these beliefs are heading and why they have salience [20:51]
  • Discussing CERN’s vision and what’s next [27:56]

Learn more

Connect with our guests

Dr Ben Rich is a senior lecturer in Curtin University’s School of Media, Creative Arts and Social Inquiry (MCASI) and a Co-director of CERN, alongside Drs Eva Bujalka and Francis Russell.

His research focuses on the rise of the Western Far Right, non-terrorist extremist ideologies in Australia and the West, and the role of ontological (state of being) insecurity in forming politically extreme views. 

Dr Eva Bujalka is an academic and creative writer who works within Curtin University’s School of MCASI and is a Co-director of CERN.

Her research focuses on incels, the growth of anti-feminist discourse and the ‘Manosphere’ – a collective of online groups that wish to rebuild the patriarchy, improve men’s capacity for self-improvement and solve today’s masculinity ‘crisis’.

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This podcast is brought to you by Curtin University. Curtin is a global university known for its commitment to making positive change happen through high-impact research, strong industry partnerships and practical teaching.

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