Gazing inwards: A Discussion of the Potential of Norwegian Social Workers to Counteract the Negative Looping Effect of Radicalisation Labels



Radicalization, Violent Extremism, Social Work, Visiting Clients, Interactive Kinds


European countries have adopted a multidisciplinary approach to ensure the prevention of violent extremism (PVE) and radicalisation related to social work, which has led to concerns that social workers are engaged in the surveillance of client groups. Our proposal is that social workers need to be involved in the PVE debate and determine ways to work within the PVE. As categorisation and labels impact the individuals being categorised and may even change them, the adoption of an approach motivated by curiosity based on the ‘typology’ of clients is suggested. Social workers should carry out a sensitive balancing act in cooperation with the police by explaining their roles and tasks to clients and clarifying confidentiality regulations. This has the potential to ensure that visiting clients in need of social workers’ services will remain open to engaging with such services. However, the execution of this approach is dependent upon social workers’ ability to be aware of and reflect upon the security dimensions that PVE entails. Thus, recommendations were formulated for the development of an approach centred on curiosity and client-centred practice. Adherence to these recommendations could help social workers communicate their true intent and remove any confusion, for the benefit of both themselves and their clients, regarding misconceptions of surveillance and policing.


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