A photo of Jacob Astley

ESRC NWSSDTP Postgraduate Research Student

Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology



Jacob obtained a first-class BA (Hons) in Archaeology and Ancient History from the University of Leicester (2016-2019), and was awarded the Arnold Wycombe Gomme Prize for the highest overall GPA in the final year. A switch to criminology saw Jacob obtain an MSc (Distinction) from the University of Leicester (2019-2020), and being awarded the Criminology in Practice Best Student Prize for the highest overall GPA in the master’s criminology cohort. Jacob has also obtained a PGCE 14+ (Distinction) from the University of Bolton (2021-2022).

Since January 2022, Jacob has been the seminar leader for the third-year undergraduate module SOCI320 The Risky Society: Crime, Security and Public Policy. In October 2022, Jacob began his ESRC-funded NWSSDTP PhD studentship in the Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology at the University of Liverpool.


Jacob’s PhD seeks to explore the prevalence of ‘Conflicted’ (previously mixed, unstable or unclear) extremist ideologies, and new forms of extremism including incels and misogynistic-driven violence within prevailing notions of masculinity and the ‘manosphere’. In particular, focussing on the changing landscape of socialisation between young people, including the role of ‘toxic’ online milieus in normalising and rationalising extremist attitudes, the ideological convergence of disparate threads of extremism that is increasingly rendering traditional categorisations of extremism and hate redundant, and the way in which these contribute to, and impact upon the socialisation processes shaping the lived experiences and behaviour(s) of young people.

As a researcher, Jacob has worked on a number of academic projects at both National and European levels, including for the EU-funded H2020 DRIVE Project, Home Office, National Independent Safeguarding Board Wales and Welsh Government.

Thesis title

‘Young People, Socialisation and the Online/Offline Interface: Exploring the Formation of ‘Mixed’ Extremist Ideologies’.


Publications and presentations

  • Astley, J., Martindale, A., McDonald, L., Mythen, G. and Walklate, S. (2023) ‘Exploring messy spaces:
    young people and labile landscapes of extremism’ (PowerPoint Presentation). European Society of Criminology Working Group on Radicalization, Extremism, and Terrorism (WG-EXTREME) Annual Colloquium, The Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 26 January.
  • Astley, J., Martindale, A., Walklate, S. and Mythen, G. (2021) ‘How big is the threat of “lone-wolf terrorism” in Britain?’. The Liverpool View, November 23. Available at: https://news.liverpool.ac.uk/2021/11/23/the-liverpool-view-how-big-is-the-threat-of-lone-wolf-terrorism-in-britain/
  • McDonald, L., Astley, J., Martindale, A., Mythen, G. and Walklate, S. (2022) ‘Engaging with extremism: reflections on the online/offline nexus amongst young people’, paper presented at Nordic Conference on Violent Extremism, The Segerstedt Institute, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, 19-21 September.
  • McManus, M., Ball, E., McElwee, J., Astley, J., McCoy, E., Harrison, R., Steele, R., Quiqq, Z., Timpson, H. and Nolan, S. (2022) ‘Shaping the Future of Multi-Agency Safeguarding Arrangements in Wales: What does good look like?’ National Executive Summary Report. National Independent Safeguarding Board Wales. Available at: https://safeguardingboard.wales/wp-content/uploads/sites/8/2022/11/LJMU-Executive-Summary-MA-Safeguarding-Wales.pdf
  • Walklate, S., Mythen, G., Martindale, A. and Astley, J. (2021) ‘When is a terrorist organisation not a terrorist organisation? H2020 EU DRIVE Project, September 6. Available at: https://www.driveproject.eu/when-is-a-terrorist-organisation-not-a-terrorist-organisation/