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Moral Disengagement and Building Resilience to Violent Extremism: An Education Intervention


Studies in Conflict and TerrorismJournal abstract

This article reports on the development of an education intervention, the Beyond Bali Education Resource funded by the Australian Governments’ Building Community Resilience Grants of the Federal Attorney General's Department, that applies a conceptual framework grounded in moral disengagement theory. Beyond Bali is a five module program for schools that is specifically designed to build social cognitive resilience to violent extremism by engaging self-sanctions and preparing students to challenge the influence of violent extremism that can lead to moral disengagement. The theory of moral disengagement has been applied to the study of radicalization to violent extremism to explain how individuals can cognitively reconstruct the moral value of violence and carry out inhumane acts. The mechanisms of moral disengagement through which individuals justify violence, dehumanize victims, disregard the harmful consequences of violence and absolve themselves of blame have been used in the construction of violent extremist narratives. However, they have not been applied to the development of intervention strategies that aim to counter the radicalizing influences of violent extremist narratives.

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