Radicalisation and violent extremism: philosophical, sociological and educational perspective




1.7.2018 - 30.6.2021


prof.dr. Tomaž Deželan


The problem of radicalization and violent extremism is one of the most important challenges of modern plural societies. The gap between ensuring security and stability on the one hand and respecting the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals on the other reveals a number of tensions and dilemmas that both policy makers as well as professionals and pedagogues face. The issue is all the more problematic, since the brutality of terrorist attacks and their ever-increasing frequency opens the space for 'moral panic', Islamophobia and prejudices and stereotypes that promote the polarization of society and the associated conflicting diversity. The proposed research project consists of analyzing different concepts of radicalization, the explication of a number of unarticulated distinctions and the explanation of various tensions, problems and challenges that the 'standard' analysis of this problem [the 'security paradigm'] leaves largely unexplored. The proposed research project will consist of individual research activities that will provide an answer to the research questions specified above and will focus on the creation of a comprehensive approach to the problem of radicalization and violent extremism, i.e.: - identification of the basic concepts that are traditionally associated with the problems of radicalization and violent extremism [e.g. indoctrination, multiculturalism of fear, trust, social inclusion, moral panic, islamophobia, the limits of tolerance, discrimination, racism, populism; hate speech, freedom of expression, prejudices, stereotypes, etc.] and the analysis of their with the process of radicalisation; - identification of key social problems that are part of the 'causal' interpretation of the process of radicalization together with the analysis of various models of radicalization; - analysis of the paths of reasoning in chosen examples of religious epistemology (the case studies will be taken especially from Christianity and Islam, both fundamentalist and “moderate” varieties, both those which appear to lead to extremist conclusions to those which challenge and reject such conclusion); - analysis of the ethical dimension of terrorism as the 'final stage' of the process of radicalisation and as a paradigm case of violent extremism; - analysis of individual models, policies and strategies for dealing with the problem of radicalization and violent extremism (counter-radicalization, deradicization, anti-polarization); - identification of fundamental distinctions between radicalization, violent extremism and terrorism, and the related objection of non-equivalence; - analysis of the 'integration gap' that represents the basic premise of cultural distance and conflict diversity; - analysis of the most important manifestations of discrimination, racism and intolerance, which offer the basis of Islamophobia and other forms of prejudice and stereotypes; - assessment of the needs of educational staff and transformational role of civic education in both formal and non-formal education (curriculum analysis, survey with students, student acquisition); - identification of the civic styles of young people that pose risks to extremism and radicalization; - preparation of various pedagogical 'scenarios' for tackling the problem of radicalization and violent extremism in both formal and non-formal educational settings. This interdisciplinary research project is designed as a three-year research work, which will provide an analytically appropriate clarification of the various ethical, sociological as well as educational dimensions of the problem of radicalization and violent extremism as well as conflicting diversity in general. A wide range of research methods, including the basic philosophical method of conceptual analysis, qualitative and quantitative sociological methods and analysis of educational are to be used.

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