Home grown narratives – the role of informal actors in PVE

Alexander Ritzmann
Brandenburgisches Institut für Gesellschaft und Sicherheit (BIGS)

Millions of Europeans have engaged with extremist propaganda, thousands are joining extremist causes. Why so many? That is an important question. But the equally important question is: Why so few? What are key resilience factors that prevent individuals from becoming radicalized?
The target audiences of political extremists in the EU are the undecided (grey zone), the groups between active democratic citizens and extremists. The undecided might share some grievances and narratives that drive an extremist ideology and they might not trust government driven PVE-initiatives. Local informal-actors (family members, friends, neighbours, sports coaches, teachers), who have a natural peer credibility, do already constantly promote alternative or counter narratives and alternative courses of action (in relation to the extremist’s narratives and calls to action) and therefore limit the space for extremists to recruit.
Questions to be discussed are: What kind of environment fosters interventions by informal actors? How can informal actors in the PVE-field be empowered? What kind of government or CSO support would not jeopardize the credibility of informal actors? (How) can effective alternative/counter narratives by informal actors be upscaled?

verwandte Schlüsselbegriffe

prevention Empowerment resilience