Violent Radicalization is the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change.
But, when, why, and how do people living in a democracy become radicalized to the point of being willing to use or directly support the use of terrorist violence against fellow citizens? And how can youth work intervene to address this challenge Europe is currently facing?
Over the past years, several terrorist attacks and foiled plots inspired by militant Islamism have grabbed European and American headlines. At the same time, one million asylum seekers and migrants reached Europe by sea last year (2017), and more than 65,000 crossed the Mediterranean in January 2018. Fearmongers talk up the threat of terrorism, demagogues thunder that asylum seekers just want to steal jobs or bleed the welfare system dry and xenophobes warn that Europe’s cultural identity is at risk.
Fear, demagogues and thread are taking huge dimensions in easy to manage target: the young people. Young people, lacking on their own critical thinking, are brainwashed by people, media, or social media. The attention and care deficiency from their homes intrigues youth into violence and abuse of fundamental values. Violence in schools is recognized as a major social problem that not only affects the well-being and educational achievement of students, but can undermine democratic values and education for citizenship.
The European Commission promotes actions empowering communities and key groups that are engaged in the prevention of terrorist radicalization and recruitment, one of which is youth work. Youth work can have a significant impact in cultivating critical thinking and fundamental values among young people, preventing this extremism, violence and radicalization. Given this, youth workers need competences and methods for preventing violent radicalization of young people, particularly to the hard to reach young people (minorities, migrants etc.).
Understanding the causes of extremism
In this section we explore what factors are involved in influencing young people to participate in extremism, particularly violent extremism. It focuses on understanding some of the realities that young people face.
How youth work can make a difference
In this section we explore the non-formal learning and value exploration as special approaches from Youth work that helps youth workers in their results with special target groups.
Identifying youth at risk
In this section we explore ‘behaviour barometer’ categorization system as a guide for the assessment of behaviours that may provide an indication of an individual’s radicalisation process.
Ego-centric life and the challenges of modern society
In this section we explore the reality of modern society through the perspective of ecocentric developmental psychology.
Positive Psychology - concepts and tools
In this section we explore few elements from the Positive psychology that can enrich and reinforce the Youth work in its impact against radicalization.
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