When counterterrorism enters the curriculum: Exploring risks and practices of the securitisation of education
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- PhD theses (TN-ISØP) 
Original versionWhen counterterrorism enters the curriculum: Exploring risks and practices of the securitisation of education by Martin M. Sjøen, Stavanger : University of Stavanger, 2020 (PhD thesis UiS, no. 524)
It is commonly assumed that the civic and moral virtues of democratic education can be a powerful and effective antidote to extremism and terrorism. The assumption here is that education can help young lives in the development of their political orientations and behaviours in support of human rights and peace. While this belief has underpinned much of Western education for millennia, we arguably do not understand enough about how education can prevent radicalisation and violent extremism, or the consequences of placing preventive responsibilities on education. This doctoral thesis studies the prevention of radicalisation and violent extremism in education. More specifically, the research objective is to explore the risks and practices of integrating counter-radicalisation efforts in education. It is a qualitative research, based on interviews with practitioners in Norway that have been studied through the framework of critical discourse analysis (CDA). The purpose has been to enhance our knowledge on the intersecting of security and education, particularly by studying what discursive practices are expressed by practitioners and, to analyse what are their potential consequences for social practice. This is an article-based thesis comprising four studies. The thesis provides a literary background, theoretical framework, methodology, research design, presentation and discussion of the four studies, an outline of the implications and limitations of the study, and a concluding summary, with suggestions for future research needs and priorities. Article I is a literature review of primary-data studies exploring the prevention of radicalisation and extremism in education. The study found that, while research remains inconclusive as to whether education can prevent extremism, there is a case for arguing that inclusive, student-centred and supportive educational relations may alleviate some of its causes. However, counter-radicalisation efforts tend to result in the use of harder preventive measures, which may impair inclusive education. Article II is a qualitative study of how educators understand and approach counter-radicalisation efforts in Norwegian schools. The study revealed that youth extremism is a limited problem in these schools, yet when faced with concerns, most educators draw on so-called therapeutic prevention strategies. These strategies conforms to the radicalisation discourse in global politics aimed at rehabilitating vulnerable students, and the study argued that this can be considered a form of pedagogical control that is implemented to maintain national security interests. Article III is a qualitative study, focusing on how young Muslims are sometimes framed by practitioners as vulnerable to being radicalised towards violent extremism. The study argued that this occurs because practitioners remain unaware of how the radicalisation discourse extends from the Global War on Terror, which may cause a practice of informal criminalisation of Islam. However, there is also evidence of hegemonic struggle in these educational discourses, as practitioners often state that the stigmatising portrayal of Muslims in politics can negatively affect educational inclusion in Norway; thus, they also express resistance towards the exclusionary effects of the radicalisation discourse. Article IV is a qualitative study that explored the integration of the radicalisation discourse in Norwegian education. The study found that counter-radicalisation policies circumvent ethical dilemmas by appealing to the educational ideal of citizenship and the safeguarding of vulnerable youth. Nevertheless, these policies have little applicational value for practitioners, and their suggested preventive measures tend to be seen as probabilistic, generic and de-contextualised, which does not correspond well to what we currently know about preventing terrorism. To summarise, this research provides both theoretical and empirical insight into the securitisation of counter-radicalisation efforts in education generally and Norwegian schools specifically. The main argument offered throughout this thesis is that prevention efforts carried out in schools must be grounded in genuinely good education. However, the securitisation paradigm that drives these efforts may undermine emancipatory, liberal and progressive education; thus, it risks making prevention efforts a practice of educational exclusion and stigmatisation.
PhD thesis in Risk management and societal safety
Has partsPaper 1: Sjøen, M. M. & Jore, S. H. (2019). Preventing extremism through education: Exploring impacts and implications of counter-radicalisation efforts. Journal of Beliefs & Values, 40(3), 269-283. (This paper is not included in Brage)
Paper 2: Sjøen, M. M. & Mattsson, C. (2019). Preventing radicalisation in Norwegian schools: How teachers respond to counter-radicalisation efforts. Critical Studies on Terrorism. (This paper is not included in Brage)
Paper 3: Sjøen, M. M. (2019). When counterterrorism enters the curriculum: How the global war on terror risks impairing good education. Journal for Deradicalization, 20, 156-189.
Sjøen, M. M. & Jore, S. H. (2019). How the counter-radicalization discourse securitizes education and why this might not be an effective approach to preventing terrorism. In M. Beer & E. Zio (Eds.). Safety & Reliability: Theory and Applications, (3973-3980). Singapore: Research Publishing Services.
PublisherUniversity of Stavanger, Norway
SeriesPhD thesis UiS;