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Richard McNeil-Willson is a Research Associate at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, the European University Institute, working primarily on the Building Resilience against Violent Extremism (BRaVE) Project.
He completed a PhD at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter (2019), as an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) scholar. His research explored the impact of counterterrorism programmes, policy and policing on ‘Islamist’ organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir in Britain and Denmark, using interviews and deep ethnographic studies. As part of the ESRC doctoral programme, Richard spent time as a Visiting Fellow at Scuola Normale Superiore (Italy) and the University of Aarhus (Denmark), as well as receiving intensive long-term Arabic language training from top private institutes in Jordan and Tunisia (2014-2015).
Richard holds additional degrees from the universities of Edinburgh (2009), Durham (2011) and Exeter (2014). As well as university researching and lecturing, Richard has worked as CEO of an organisation running UK and EU counter-radicalisation programmes funded as part of the UK Government’s PREVENT programme, and Senior Researcher into counterterror law at leading anti-Islamophobia and human rights organisations.
His research interests focus on discussions around extremism, radical social movement organisations, political violence and counterterrorism policy. Current research focuses on the development and expansion of counter-extremism legislation and the impact this has on non-democratic organisations, minority communities and civil rights.
McNeil-Willson, R., Garrand, V., Scrinzi, V. & Triandafyllidou, A. (2019). Polarisation, Violence Extremism and Resilience in Europe today: An analytical framework for the BRaVE project, Building Resilience Against Violent Extremism. Horizon 2020, European Commission: European University Institute
McNeil-Willson, R. (2019). ‘Islamism and the Counterterror State: The impact of the securitised lens on Hizb ut-Tahrir in Britain and Denmark’, Doctoral Thesis. Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter: UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
McNeil-Willson, R. & Romaniuk, S.N. (2019). ’Counterterrorism has no Borders: Citizenship, Global Security Architectures and the Securitisation of Civil Society’, Romaniuk, S.N. (ed.), The Palgrave Handbook of Civil Society and Security Policy, London: Palgrave MacMillan
McNeil-Willson, R. & Mathews, P.S. (2019). ’Repressive Security and Civil Society in Europe: France’, Romaniuk, S.N. (ed.), The Palgrave Handbook of Civil Society and Security Policy. London: Palgrave MacMillan
McNeil-Willson, R. (2019). ’Here Be Dragons: Responding to Problems with Contemporary Research Methods in the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence’. Pappe, I., Charles, L. Ronchi, M. (eds.), Researching the Middle East: Cultural, Conceptual, Theoretical and Practical Issues. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press
McNeil-Willson, R. (2017). ‘Between Trust and Oppression; Contemporary counter-terror policies in Denmark’, Romaniuk, S.N., Grice, F., Irrera, D. & Webb, S. (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Global Counterterrorism policy. London: Palgrave MacMillan
McNeil-Willson, R. (2017). ‘A Primer on the Impact of Islamic State on Counterterror Legislation’, Romaniuk, S.N., Grice, F., Irrera, D. & Webb, S. (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Global Counterterrorism policy. London: Palgrave MacMillan