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Social network analysis and small group ‘dark’ networks: an analysis of the London bombers and the problem of ‘fuzzy’ boundaries

Burcher, Morgan and Whelan, Chad 2015, Social network analysis and small group ‘dark’ networks: an analysis of the London bombers and the problem of ‘fuzzy’ boundaries, Global crime, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 104-122, doi: 10.1080/17440572.2015.1005363.

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Title Social network analysis and small group ‘dark’ networks: an analysis of the London bombers and the problem of ‘fuzzy’ boundaries
Author(s) Burcher, Morgan
Whelan, ChadORCID iD for Whelan, Chad orcid.org/0000-0002-2910-0983
Journal name Global crime
Volume number 16
Issue number 2
Start page 104
End page 122
Total pages 19
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Place of publication Abingdon, Eng.
Publication date 2015
ISSN 1744-0572
1744-0580
Keyword(s) dark networks
fuzzy boundaries
intelligence analysis
London bombings
small groups
social network analysis
Summary Social network analysis (SNA) is believed to be capable of revealing significant insights into crime and terror groups, including identifying important individuals and unique approaches to disruption. However, SNA has a number of theoretical and practical limitations, particularly when applied to ‘dark’ networks. While most analysts certainly acknowledge at least some of these limitations, we need to know more about their potential impact in a crime intelligence context. This article aims to go some way towards that end by placing greater scrutiny on the problem of ‘fuzzy boundaries’ when applied to small group networks. SNA is applied to the groups responsible for the 7 July 2005 London bombings and the 21 July 2005 attempted London bombings. The article concludes that while SNA is a valuable tool for understanding crime and terror groups, the age-old problem of fuzzy boundaries can have a profound impact on the analysis of small dynamic networks.
Language eng
DOI 10.1080/17440572.2015.1005363
Field of Research 160299 Criminology not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 810105 Intelligence
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2015, Taylor & Francis
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30072622

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