Radicalism and Extremism

Since so many youths from Europe began joining the armed struggle in Syria, social concern over the appeal which radicalism and extremism appear to exert on certain groups of youths has grown significantly. Based on previous research, it can be assumed that affinity with radical and extremist views is not unusual among youths. The young generally take on the direction of these views from their parents, but with the proviso that they are often tempted to be more extreme. Some of them are also more ready to turn words into deeds. However for the large majority of youths, distancing themselves from the views of their parents is part of their self-awareness process. The final point in that process is generally that youths integrate into the prevailing, institutionalised political culture.
The quality of the social ties which young people maintain with direct and extended family, neighbourhood, school and society ultimately determines whether youths eventually evolve into responsible, well-integrated and involved citizens. Personal involvement, recognisable contexts and avoiding anonymity are necessary ingredients for a society able to offer youths a feeling of safety and trust in society. However practice has taught that it is mainly the most vulnerable youths who have to cope with environments which offer steadily declining bonding power: problem families, unsafe and anonymous neighbourhoods, large impersonal schools and a bureaucratised youth care system.
Since 2007 Risbo has conducted research into radicalisation processes from a pedagogical perspective. In particular the family context of youths who become radicalised is being put under the microscope, but also the role of other educators (such as teachers, youth workers, police) is a topic of research.


Jan de Boom deboom@risbo.eur.nl
+31 10 408 2165
Marion van San vansan@risbo.eur.nl
+31 10 408 2124
Tel +31 10 408 21 24
Fax +31 10 408 11 41
Email info@risbo.eur.nl
Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
3062 PA Rotterdam

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