An Advanced Quantitative Methods PhD Opportunity: Exploring Civil Unrest and Violent Crowds in Social Media and Urban space

[see also attached PDF version]

Presently civil unrest and violence are spreading across the globe, peaceful protests often transform into violent protests with violent encounters between government forces and crowds. With the increasing use of social media, crowds emerge as virtual groups, rather than in ╩╗real space╩╝. Understanding (and subsequently predicting) the occurrences of civil unrest is extremely challenging. Data from new social networking services will help us to understand how crowds and violent unrest develop within virtual and real space, and how these spaces are related. These new data have the potential to revolutionise our understanding of such events and the violence that emerges.

This research project will take a unique perspective on understanding social unrest by combining qualitative and quantitative analysis. The research will use new text and data mining tools to explore the textual content of the social network data in order to identify and localise the patterns and dynamics of civil unrest and to enhance our understanding of how unrest can emerge. The project will also analyse these data quantitatively by exploring spatio-temporal patterns (see Figures 1 and 2 for example). These analyses will be used to drive a computer model that can help to understand the dynamics of civil unrest, potentially to be used as a tool to help control future outbreaks.

Applications are invited from candidates from either computational science or social science backgrounds; all candidates with a good understanding of criminology, political science or socio-economics are welcome, and training in the necessary quantitative methods can be provided. Typical subjects that applicants may have studied include computer science, criminology, geography, sociology, psychology.

For further information please contact Mark Birkin ([log in to unmask]) or see
Project  supervisors
Prof.     Mark Birkin Professor of Spa+al Analysis and Policy       
Prof.    Susanne Karstedt Professor of  Criminology and Criminal Justice     
Dr  Nick Malleson Research Fellow        in Computational Geography


Professor Nigel Gilbert, ScD, FREng, AcSS, Professor of Sociology,
University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 7XH, UK. +44 (0)1483 689173