Alexander Murphy

Teaching Fellow

School/Department: Criminology, School of



Before starting his PhD study in September 2017 Alex studied for both his BA Criminology and MSc Applied Criminology degrees at the School graduating with a first-class degree and distinction in 2014 and 2016 respectively. In addition to his academic degrees Alex has assisted with a number of research projects including a six-month internship working with both the Leicester Hate Crime Project and on a study into the media representation of the UK government’s Transforming Rehabilitation agenda. Other projects have included research into the methods used for the investigation of distraction burglary offences in liaison with several UK police forces and the testing of a device (the Hot Print System) designed to develop fingerprints on thermal paper; both with Dr John Bond OBE. Alex’s PhD research is supervised by Professor Chris Allen and Dr Dylan Kerrigan, and he passed viva in April 2022. 


Alex’s doctoral research is concerned with the impact of political rhetoric on hate speech and how the themes used in the messaging of politicians relate to hate speech discourses on Twitter, following hate crime antecedent events such as terrorist attacks. The research utilised novel social media data capture techniques to qualitatively examine the themes and content of the rhetoric employed by prominent UK politicians and conduct a thematic analysis of hate speech gathered from Twitter in the wake of trigger events. In a contemporary context of political upheaval and exclusionary political rhetoric across Europe and the world this research aimed to explore the precise relationship between these discourses and hate speech content. Ultimately, this research indicates that online hate speech echoes the exclusionary and stigmatising rhetoric promoted by political leaders, and that their rhetoric is frequently either absent or inflammatory in these times of maximum social tension. In this way, it contributes to scholarship on online hate speech, hate crime trigger events, and offers an in-depth analysis of contemporary political rhetoric and digital hate, as well as evidencing the notion that hate crimes explicitly reflect dominant ideological positions. 



Murphy, A. (2021) 'Political Rhetoric and Hate Speech in the Case of Shamima Begum' Religions, 12(10): 834-851.

Murphy, A. (2020) HCAW Blog #4: The Power of Rhetoric in 2020,, (accessed 18th January 2022).

Hedderman, B. and Murphy, A. (2015) ‘Bad news for probation? Analysing the newspaper coverage of Transforming Rehabilitation’ Probation Journal, 62(3): 217-233.



I have supervised undergraduate dissertations relating to hate crime, traditional and social media analysis, terrorism and extremism, and qualitative and online research methods.


Punishment and Rehabilitation (Undergraduate)

Violence (Undergraduate)

Understanding Criminological Research (Undergraduate)

Dissertation (Undergraduate)


Murphy, A. (2021) 'Political rhetoric and hate speech in the Shamima begum case', Linguistic and Social Aspects of Hate Speech in Modern Societies, online conference presentation and Q&A session, 22-23 March.

Murphy, A. (2020) 'Rhetoric, hate speech, and Shamima Begum', International Network for Hate Studies, online conference, 2-3 December.


Political rhetoric and extremism, hate speech, hate crime and hate crime trigger events, digital hate and social media research


Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, accredited August 2020
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