When Counterterrorism Enters the Curriculum: How the Global War on Terror Risks Impairing Good Education

Martin M. Sjøen

Abstract


This article outlines and critically discusses the securitisation of the counter-radicalisation efforts in Norwegian schools. More specifically, it explores perceptions offered by educators and youth social workers through interviews with 23 practitioners on the topic of preventing youth extremism. Through the narratives of these practitioners, the paper reveals a belief that education can contribute to counter-radicalisation efforts, by focusing on relational pedagogy, social interaction and the safeguarding of vulnerable youth. Nevertheless, the article outlines a concerning discursive practice, in which young Muslims are frequently framed as vulnerable to being radicalised towards violent extremism. There is, however, evidence of both hegemony and resistance regarding the framing of Islam as a security threat, as many practitioners state that the stigmatising and polarising portrayal of Muslim youth in politics and the media can affect progressive, liberal and inclusive education. Finally, it is suggested that practitioners remain relatively unaware of how the assumption driven radicalisation discourse extends from the Global War on Terror, which is widely criticised for its informal criminalisation of Islam.


Keywords


Radicalisation discourse; counter-radicalisation; counterterrorism; securitisation; education; critical discourse analysis

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