D10.2 Synthesis Report | July 2023
Author: Mattia Zeba, EURAC Research
This report synthesizes findings from country analyses of civic education programs as deradicalization tools in Germany, Italy, France, Turkey, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The D.Rad project conceptualizes radicalization through the I-GAP spectrum of injustice, grievance, alienation, and polarization. Civic education can potentially impact alienation and polarization by fostering critical thinking, democratic literacy, active citizenship, and resilience. Programs analyzed adopt participatory approaches like role-playing and theater to avoid counterindoctrination risks.
The report introduces key concepts like critical thinking, empathy, democratic literacy, active citizenship, resilience, and socio-emotional learning that many programs aim to build. It outlines the methodology used to select and analyze relevant national programs, focusing on participatory methods but also including some top-down initiatives for comparison. Programs spanned NGOs, government policies, EU projects, and public-private partnerships.
The report summarizes approaches and results of analyzed programs in Germany, Italy, France, Turkey, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Germany focused on NGO workshops using roleplaying and guided discussion. Italy examined participatory EU projects engaging youth in counter-narrative creation. France covered government school programs, rehabilitation partnerships, and NGO counseling and workshops. Turkey looked at police disengagement efforts, religious reeducation, and an EU critical thinking project. Bosnia highlighted youth engagement, online countermessaging, and reintegration assistance.
Comparative analysis identified youth and prisoners as common target groups needing resilience. Participatory methods successfully built critical thinking and empathy but required tailoring and trust. Roleplaying and multi-stakeholder involvement were impactful. Definitional questions around radicalization and stigmatization risks arose. Dialogue, storytelling, and individualized support facilitated disengagement.
In conclusion, civic education has strong potential but requires nuanced, sustained application informed by target populations. Avoiding unintended exclusion and embracing participation, dialogue, and creativity can trigger long-term attitudinal shifts, within careful program design and realistic expectations.