The lack of looks : A study on the Incel ideology of Incelism during the 2010s–2020s and its relation to historical and contemporary ideologies particularly within far-right milieus

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Historiska institutionen

Author: Hugo Engholm; [2021]

Keywords: ;

Abstract: The Incel milieu is known for its high level of misogyny, self-hate, and hate towards society. In recent years, it has received more and more scholarly attention and one topic which is often mentioned but rarely deeply discussed is if there is such a thing as an Incel ideology. This thesis argues that such an ideology exists, the ideology of Incelism, and this thesis strives to answer the question of how Incelism is constructed, and what relationships it has to other ideologies, particularly far-right ones. To answer this question the thesis has through a qualitative content analysis employed Michael Freeden’s morphology of ideologies which states that an ideology is constructed similar to a semantic field. Freeden’s approach, together with the theoretical frameworks of Eva Illouz’s research on how love and relationships have changed since the dawn of modernity, and the field of collective victimhood, has been used to analyze discussion threads pulled from the website, the at the time largest Incel-exclusive online community. The results show that the ideology of Incelism contains five core concepts labeled “Hierarchy”, “Misogyny”, “The natural”, “Alienation”, and “Direct action”, eleven adjacent concepts could also be found as well as one peripheral. What was also found was that Incelism constitutes a thin ideology, meaning that it lacks certain aspects which needs to be borrowed from other ideologies, or that it needs to be hosted within a larger ideological construct. Through comparing Incelism to other ideologies it was found that it views macro-Liberalism, -Socialism and -Conservatism as ideological foes. It is instead within the milieus of the far-right Incelism finds ideological allies, potential host ideologies, and from where it has borrowed the concepts itself lacks. The results of this thesis show that Incelism is an ideology that is vast enough to support its own ideological field of core, adjacent and peripheral concepts, but that it still lacks certain concepts. An issue which is resolved by finding support from ideologies found within far-right milieus.

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