Crime, Media, Culture: An International Journal
Czerwinsky, A. (2023). Misogynist incels gone mainstream: A critical review of the current directions in incel-focused research. Crime, Media, Culture, 0(0). https://doi.org/10.1177/17416590231196125
Misogynist incels have been at the fore of academic, professional and mainstream discussions in recent years. Drawing on a systematic review of 47 studies, as well as my own experience with researching current misogynist and exit-curious incels, this paper explores the strengths and weaknesses of the contemporary incel-focused literature. It summarises and critiques the foundational knowledge that underpins our understanding of the current incel community, conceptualised into themes of incels as oppressors, incels as oppressed and incels as threat. Importantly, this paper interrogates the usefulness of our working definition of the term ‘incel’, calling for greater specificity in the language we use to define, theorise and explain the subsets of the incel community under study. In line with a call for more precise language in empirical works, I explore several areas for future research that will help broaden our understanding of the complexities and contradictions within the broader incelosphere.