Going AFK: interrogating the viability of desistance theorising for narratives of cyber-dependent criminal careers
  This project brings together two of the Co-Investigators’ fields of criminological research: desistance research and cybercrime. These areas currently exist in relative isolation to each other but offer the potential for important insights from cross-fertilisation. This project is concerned with illuminating the ways in which contemporary conceptualisations of desistance from crime - which have largely arisen from traditional, often ‘street’ offending - can help explain the process by which ‘hackers’ leave cyber-dependent crime behind, as well as the limitations of such conceptualisations in this context. This research would help to fill identified gaps in our understanding of how and why people move away from illicit or malicious ‘hacking’. In doing so, it aims to develop a more robust, nuanced and critical understanding of both ‘hacking’ and ‘desistance’.
The project will seek to understand the way in which people who were previously involved in illicit or malicious forms of hacking, narrate their hacking careers, attending to processes of identity-formation and meaning-making. A primary aim of this project is to pilot a multiplicity of approaches to the gathering of personal narratives in order to circumvent the significant challenges of recruitment of people who have been involved in cyber-dependent crime (Hutchings and Holt, 2018; Yar, 2013). In doing so, the research not only intends to offer early insights into the ways in which people narrate their hacking careers, but to pave the way for a future larger-scale research project which would more fully enable exploration of this ground-breaking area.

  • Start Date:

    1 January 2021

  • End Date:

    31 October 2022

  • Activity Type:

    Externally Funded Research

  • Funder:

    Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland

  • Value:


Project Team