Polarization & Discrimination

Protesterende mensen

Risbo conducts research on processes of polarization, discrimination, and radicalization. Research varies from studies on triggering factors of discrimination, to studies on the family context from which young radicalized people originate and the role of other educators (such as teachers, youth workers, police) with radicalization.


In the field of discrimination, Risbo was commissioned by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment to conduct research on the causes and trigger factors of discrimination against persons of African descent in the Netherlands. Earlier research on safety and discrimination against homosexual individuals was commissioned by Police and Science.

On behalf of the Province of South Holland, Risbo conducts research into the impact of the colonial and slavery past of the province. The research will contribute to creating awareness about the impact of the colonial and slavery past in contemporary society and will provide input for formulating action perspectives that can contribute to combating discrimination.


The quality of the social bonds that young people maintain with family, family, neighborhood, school and society ultimately determine whether young people ultimately develop into responsible, well-integrated and engaged citizens. Personal involvement, recognizable contexts and the prevention of anonymity are necessary ingredients for a society capable of providing young people with a sense of security and trust in society. However, practice shows that especially the most vulnerable young people have to deal with environments that develop less and less power of connection: problem families, unsafe and anonymous neighborhoods, large impersonal schools and a bureaucratized system of youth care.

Ideals on Drift

Idealen op Drift (in collaboration with Micha de Winter, and Stijn Sieckelinck, Utrecht University) Idealen op Drift consists of a theoretical and an empirical part. In the first part, based on a literature review, the main lines of a pedagogical vision on radicalization of young people were investigated. The empirical part of the study reported on the ethnographic interviews we conducted with radicalized youth and, in some cases, with their parents and/or other family members.

Formers and Families

Formers and families is a project with researchers from the UK, Denmark and the Netherland, that investigates the possible role that family members play in the processes of radicalisation and whether the development of radicalisation is influenced by the pedagogical climate within the family, and by the responses of parents and other 'educators' during the process of radicalisation. Our research points out that parents are only very rarely a direct cause for radicalisation, just as they are almost never a direct trigger for de-radicalisation.

Religious beliefs and readiness for violence among Dutch and Flemish adolescents

This study focused on how young people's ideals take shape and what role the educational network (parents, school) plays in this process. In addition to interviews with young people, conversations between young people on Facebook were charted from June 2012.


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