Developing counter- and alternative narratives together with local communities

When national security is at stake, it is hardly surprising that there is a tendency to focus on the national, and on security. However, developments over the last decade, as the field of preventing/countering violent extremism learns from the neighbouring area of public health, have taken the discussion towards the local, and towards communications, to achieve more effective results. Some residue of an earlier approach remains nonetheless, with counter- and alternative narrative campaigns often developed without the input of local communities, and unnecessarily securitising the debate. This paper sets out an argument for addressing this shortcoming, and identifies some advice for frontline practitioners based on academic literature, good practice examples and lessons learned from adjacent fields.

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