What role do French society and its education system play in promoting violent radicalization processes?

Arianne Maraj, Dilmurat Mahmut, Ratna Ghosh


Radicalization is a complicated phenomenon, which is caused by multiple factors, including poor housing, low education, and unemployment, according to a study by the French Institute of International Relations (Hecker, 2018; Macaluso, 2016). France has a high number of radicalized terrorists, most of whom are homegrown, often with strong cultural ties to former French colonial countries in North Africa (IFRI, 2018). This paper aims to illustrate how social exclusion and marginalization created and perpetuated by the inequalities in the French society and education system (Bourdieu, 1971; Croizet et al, 2019; Goodman 2019; Jetten et al., 2020; Vanten, 2016), may be contributing to the radicalization of many young French citizens.  This push factor could be a key precondition for radicalization in many Western societies (Ghosh et al., 2016). While critiquing the French education system, this study insists that schools can and must create a sense of connection with their students and construct resilient and inclusive communities (da Silva, 2017, Ghosh et al., 2017; OECD, 2012). Finally, some pedagogical approaches, especially care in education, are suggested for educational institutions and school agents to effectively build a sense of belonging among young students that would enhance their resilience against radicalization.


Radicalization; Marginalization; French Society; Elitism; Discrimination; Inequality; Secularism; Education; Muslims; Community

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