Storytelling against extremism: How fiction could increase the persuasive impact of counter- and alternative narratives in P/CVE

Linda Schlegel


The past decade has seen an increase in research on narratives in extremist communication and their role in radicalization processes as well as on both counter- and alternative narratives as tools to prevent or counter radicalization processes. Conspicuously absent from the P/CVE literature so far, however, is a discussion on fictional narratives and the potential of stories not based on ‘realistic’ presentations of life. This article is an exploratory contribution to the discourse suggesting how fictional narratives, low in external realism but eliciting a high degree of transportation and identification in audiences, may be useful tools for P/CVE campaigns built on narratives and storytelling. It discusses the importance of transportation, identification, and perceived realism for narrative persuasion as well as the possibility to use fictional utopian narratives in P/CVE campaigns.


Narrative; Extremism; PVE; Fiction; Persuasion

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