Being resilient to radicalisation in PVE policy: a critical examination

William Stephens, Stijn Sieckelinck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The problematic nature of certain policies and approaches to preventing and countering violent extremism has been robustly demonstrated; it is clear that rethinking the prevention of violent extremism requires concerted attention. One response to critiques of security-driven approaches has been the adoption of the language of resilience building. However, the turn to resilience has not been matched by a fundamental rethinking of approach, and may often mask troubling approaches in the language of objectivity and positivity. In rethinking the question of prevention, examining the concept of resilience is important not only to address a current trend in policy discourse, but also to benefit from the rich literature on resilience from which valuable lessons may be drawn. A critically informed concept of resilience has the potential to provide a framework of response that recognises individuals and communities as political actors who, rather than being shielded from ideologies, require the resources and channels to challenge violence, discrimination, and injustice, be it state or non-state driven. This article, through examining the current use of “resilience” in PVE policies, makes a modest attempt to draw on lessons from applying resilience in other contexts to articulate possible features of a critically informed approach to preventing violent extremism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-165
JournalCritical Studies on Terrorism
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2020


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