What is polarisation and how to respond at the local level?
The term “polarisation” is mentioned ever more frequently in the political and intellectual debate on the main trends that shape our Western societies, particularly since the wave of terrorist attacks over the past few years.
It is generally agreed that the polarisation of our societies into antagonistic and increasingly “enemy” groups corrodes social cohesion and security, which provides a breeding ground for radicalisation. Identifying polarisation in order to reduce it therefore appears an appropriate preventive approach in order to counter early radical trends before they become full-fledged and turn into violence.
Since January 2019, the European Forum for Urban Security (Efus) has been leading one of the first European projects on this issue: BRIDGE (Building resilience to reduce polarisation and growing extremism) seeks to raise awareness among local actors and provide them with tools to reduce individual and collective vulnerability to radicalisation on the local level, by mitigating polarisation.
Read the first recommendations on how local actors can respond to polarisation here.