Resilience in radicalization prevention: a study about resilience as a norm in primary and secondary prevention in Germany and the Netherlands

Barbara Gruber

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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Resilience is the new key concept in radicalization prevention for individuals and societies alike. This dissertation is a detailed account of the theoretical background and empirical practice of resilience in radicalization prevention practices in the Netherlands and Germany. The dissertation is based on 40 interviews with practitioners in primary and secondary prevention in both countries. The key findings of this dissertation are: first, resilience is not just individual characteristic, but rather a relational one, which means support is the key in radicalization prevention practice; second, national context matters in the understanding of what resilience is supposed to achieve in relation to radicalization prevention. In the Netherlands resilience was often equated with assertiveness against group pressure, while in Germany resilience was often equated with fostering a democratic mind-set to withstand extremist ideologies. A third important finding is that resilience in primary prevention leads to a securitization of social and youth work, as security concerns overrule the primary mandate of this profession. However, social and youth workers are aware of this securitization and formulated their own understanding of prevention, championing non-judgmental and supportive relationships. Finally, resilience in secondary prevention is a form of securitized care, as individuals who raise security suspicions are handled through care while still being under surveillance. Therefore, this dissertation is also an invitation to reflect upon the potentially negative consequences of radicalization prevention practices, like increased surveillance, and the usefulness of individualized accounts of resilience.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • de Wilde, Jaap, Supervisor
  • Hönke, Jana, Supervisor
  • Ryan, Caitlin, Co-supervisor
Award date29-Jun-2023
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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