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The role of cultural and historical factors in polarisation and violent extremism


This discussion paper, available in English and in French, looks at the role that cultural and historical factors play in making individuals more likely to engage in actions associated with polarisation and violent extremism, as well as considering resilience-building responses built around developing alternative narratives. Historical and Cultural factors focus on issues concerned with individual identity, community heritage and interaction, as well as national democratic and legal practice.

Based on the BRaVE Concept Paper and project research, several such factors were identified as making societies particularly prone to polarisation and enabling violent extremism (McNeil-Willson et al. 2019). In response, resilience building efforts were identified that offered alternative narratives to polarisation and violent extremism. These can be utilised against Far Right and Islamist forms of extremism by engaging different resilience factors, dependent on the organisation and context.

The paper was written by Robin Sclafani and Richard McNeil-Willson within the framework of the BRAVE Project. Find out more about the project: www.brave-h2020.eu.