The Radicalization Awareness Workshop – Providing Analyses and Interventions for Marginalised Lives and Communities?
The work of analysis and intervention in this field is often divided into two main areas: 1. Prevention, involving social and political transformation as well as interventions with marginalized youth, and 2. De-radicalisation - involving disengagement, reintegration, mentorship and exit programmes.
Prevention is the focus for the RAN workshop. Does the workshop help workers to redeem disaffected youth? Does it give them adequate tools for effective interventions? These questions will be addressed in the presentation of the workshop. It is in the second area, de-radicalisation, that the counter narrative motif becomes central. ISIL appears to be “winning the narrative war”, winning the hearts and minds of thousands of young people from 80 countries, succeeding where Al Quaida failed. ISIL narratives weave together historical symbols, beliefs and core grievances with the narrative of a global caliphate - an Islamic Camelot if you will (Lavoy et al., 2014). How to meet the challenge and supply satisfying alternative narratives?
The paper explores the common ground for prevention and re-integration from a clinical sociology point of view. Both prevention and re-integration initiatives must be informed by an understanding of why people actually take the step from mainstream to marginal - loneliness, alienation, fear of never belonging, lack of a belief in a future, lack of meaning. Recent research indicates that these problems are the same for returning Jihadis as for disaffected youth (Weggemans 2015, Harris, 2014). Both prevention and re-integration posit strategies for meeting these challenges.