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Preventing radicalisation in Norwegian schools: how teachers respond to counter-radicalisation efforts


critical studies on terrorismJournal Abstract

This article explores how selected educators respond to the integration of counter-radicalisation efforts into Norwegian secondary schools. Our research participants describe having limited encounters with youth extremism in practice, yet their narratives exhibit a professional responsibility to prevent students from being radicalised towards any form of violent extremism. There are, however, diverging views on how prevention should be carried out in school. When faced with concerns of radicalisation, most participants draw on therapeutic prevention, which conforms to the dominant radicalisation discourse in global politics aimed at identifying and rehabilitating vulnerable youth. We argue that these therapeutic prevention strategies are a form of pedagogical control intended to recondition “illiberal” students under the pretext of national security. Considering the strong normative and political connotations of extremism-related issues, we recommend that educators tread cautiously in their prevention efforts. Educators must especially strive to find a balance between deterring students from radicalisation and violent extremism, while also ensuring that these efforts do not impede the agency and autonomy of young lives. Overall, this research raises some ethical and practical concerns about preventing radicalisation and violent extremism in Norwegian schools.

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