LESSONS IN IDEOLOGY: A STUDY OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FORMAL EDUCATION, SOCIALIZATION, AND VIOLENT EXTREMISM
Johnson, Isaac D.
Gregg, Heather S.
Robinson, Glenn E.
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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.
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