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Mining the personal to carve a space of one’s own: a grounded theory study of grassroots countering violent extremism practitioners
Orla, Lehane
This research focuses on individuals working to counter violent extremism at grassroots level. It details the way in which these practitioners draw on their own personal experiences to carve a space for themselves within a domain of policy that has seen an ever increasing variety of actors seek to augment their positions. That it is possible to intervene and avert people from being influenced by violent extremist organisations to perpetrate acts of violence is the impetus behind this growing ‘countering violent extremism’ (CVE) industry. CVE policy, a major concern for governments around the world, marks a shift within counter-terrorism towards prevention. This move comes as a response to well publicised acts of “homegrown” violent extremism, such as the 7/7 bombings in London (2005) and the Madrid train bombings (2004). The idea is that individuals can be “radicalised” to commit such acts, whether by friends or family, other significant individuals in their lives, online materials created and disseminated by violent extremist organisations, or by the wider socio-political context that creates a variety of situations and issues that may fuel individuals’ decisions to take violent action against a perceived enemy. Those seeking to intervene in or reverse the “radicalisation process” range from government officials and offices to Silicon Valley corporations, from educators, NGOs, and private companies to individuals seeking to exert some influence. One set of these actors is focused on herein: grassroots level CVE practitioners. These are individuals who work independently of government and policy makers; they are not part of the “official” system. This research uses grounded theory to uncover grassroots CVE practitioners main concerns and to theorise the way in which they seek to resolve these concerns. A predominantly inductive method, interviews were conducted with thirty grassroots CVE practitioners working to counter a variety of ideologies, including right wing violent extremism, violent jihadism and violent extremism associated with republicanism and loyalism in Northern Ireland. Those interviewed include former violent extremists, former gang members, survivors of acts of violent extremism, Imams, youth workers, artists, and individuals who feel personally compelled to engage in CVE efforts. By taking a grounded theory approach to explore their experiences, this research offers an account of the way in which these grassroots practitioners function within the CVE industry. Mining the personal conceptualises the way in which these individuals draw on their own very personal experiences, repurposing these along with their skills and capacities, to establish themselves as credible and authoritative voices within the CVE arena. In doing so, these practitioners are carving a space for themselves from which they can work on their own terms, remaining independent while continuing to mine the personal as a way in which to resolve the frustrations they experience as a result of what they believe to be poor policy and practice on the part of other CVE actors.
Keyword(s): Education; Terrorism; Grounded Theory; Countering Violent Extremism; Community; Grassroots; Policy; Jihadism; Extreme Right
Publication Date:
Type: Other
Peer-Reviewed: Unknown
Language(s): English
Contributor(s): Maura, Conway
Institution: Dublin City University
Citation(s): Orla, Lehane (2018) Mining the personal to carve a space of one’s own: a grounded theory study of grassroots countering violent extremism practitioners. PhD thesis, Dublin City University.
Publisher(s): Dublin City University. School of Law and Government; Dublin City University. Institute for International Conflict Resolution and Reconstruction
File Format(s): application/pdf
Related Link(s):
First Indexed: 2018-11-22 06:08:03 Last Updated: 2019-02-09 06:08:27