Lessons in Ideology: A Study of the Relationship Between Formal Education, Socialization, and Violent Extremism - Islamic Salafi Schools in Indonesia, Muhammadiyah Schools, Beyond Bali Education
Western governments have invested considerable resources in counter-violent extremism (CVE) programs in an effort to reduce the spread of terrorism both domestically and internationally. One approach, formal education, holds potential as a long-term strategy for preventing violent extremist ideologies from taking hold in a community. More
This report has been professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction. Western governments have invested considerable resources in counter-violent extremism (CVE) programs in an effort to reduce the spread of terrorism both domestically and internationally. One approach, formal education, holds potential as a long-term strategy for preventing violent extremist ideologies from taking hold in a community. While many CVE experts agree that education is a valuable tool for preventing extremism, exactly what skills, knowledge, theories, and other aspects of education are most effective in countering violent extremism is still a matter of debate. This thesis applies socialization theory as an analytical lens to three case studies of educational programs in Indonesia and Australia to analyze how these programs instill commitment to the desired values and behaviors within students. It finds that socialization theory provides a useful framework for analyzing the ability of an educational institution to effect widespread social change, such as countering violent extremism. This research also indicates that a program's influence is not necessarily limited by its size, but considerable time, resources, and direction are required to achieve an organization's goals through education. Considering these findings, this thesis recommends that CVE practitioners incorporate socialization theory into future education programs to assist in countering violent extremist ideologies in target populations.
Numerous theories attempt to explain the complexities of the radicalization process and the social, political, religious, and psychological factors that lead to extremist violence. For example, political scientist Guilain Denoeux identifies more than twenty different radicalizing factors in three categories: socioeconomic drivers, including social exclusion, discrimination, the influence of social networks and group dynamics, relative deprivation, poverty, and greed; political drivers, such as corruption, war, repression, the existence of radical institutions, and state sponsorship of extremist organizations; and cultural drivers, including perceived cultural threats, religious intolerance, and proactive religious agendas that support extremist narratives and ways of thinking. Denoeux argues that any combination of these factors, depending on individual circumstances, can set the conditions for violent extremist narratives to thrive and influence individuals to support violent extremist organizations.
Psychologist Randy Borum believes several social science theories show promise in explaining the radicalization process, including collective radicalization, conversion theory, and moral disengagement theory, among others. Collective radicalization posits that groups adopt extremist beliefs through a process of competition with state powers, in-group competition, and isolation, all of which intensify, coalesce, and polarize the opinions of their members to ever higher levels of radical belief. Conversion theory addresses radicalization at the individual level, rather than group level, and focuses on the individual process of transforming beliefs and ideologies in response to different motivations, including dissatisfaction with the current system, seeking acceptance, elevated status, revenge, or addressing personal or political grievances. Also at an individual level, moral disengagement theory holds that otherwise moral people commit violent acts by dehumanizing their victims, absolving themselves of blame, and disregarding the consequences of their actions. Borum concludes that no single theory can completely explain the radicalization process, but using established social science concepts may help CVE practitioners move forward in future research and activities.
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