CALL FOR PAPERS: Special issue on community responses to the prevention of ‘radicalisation’ and hateful or violent extremism

Published 20/12/2021
Type Rapid Communication
Author(s) Kevin Wong & Jean Hine
Corresponding Authors

Since the 2001 9/11 terror attacks, and particularly since the 7/7 attacks in London in 2005, an overarching policy objective has developed in the United Kingdom (UK) and other jurisdictions, in which individuals and communities are to be prevented from engaging in hateful or violent extremism. In the UK and elsewhere, while this was prompted by and focused on Islamist extremism, the preventive approach is now also applied to right-wing extremism and can be extended to other forms of violent extremism such as incel/misogynist extremism, and left-wing extremism as well as to cases where ideology is ‘mixed, unstable or unclear’.

The response to extremism commonly includes policies promoting pro-social attitudes and ‘community cohesion’ – especially where they connect to community conflict more widely (Thomas 2010) – and focusing on education as it relates to both ideology and economic and social inclusion. It also includes ‘community engagement’ and ‘youth engagement’ programmes that do ‘hearts and minds’ work on orientation towards the state but also carry out surveillance and lower-level coercive interventions. Importantly, the fear of extremisms and a broader downward spiral of communal relations has prompted governments to allow the prevention of violent extremism to overdetermine relationships with some parts of society, and Muslims in particular.

While the vast majority of people are not favourable to hateful or violent extremism, we should not expect consensus with regards to where the cut-offs should be placed for these categories, or consensus on the appropriateness of any response. A universal educational offer that educates for democracy or against extremism (Davies 2009) will have broad support, as do criminal justice responses to terrorist activity (e.g. prison sentences for convicted terrorists). Between these two, however, we find a variety of community-level and person-specific interventions, of which some may be broadly punitive but most are ‘administrative or social based measures’ Eijkman and Roodnat 2016). Such measures – which are not formally mandated by a court, do not always require consent and are rarely open to challenge – can produce the ‘grievance, structural inequalities and alienation from power structures’ (Pilkington 2018) that can drive extremism.

This range of interventions raise questions, not only about their appropriateness and the accountability of the agencies involved, but about the ways in which the lives of (mostly younger) people are encroached on and reshaped both by extremism and by counter-extremist interventions. Is the “community” envisaged as a space of unbounded (and potentially risky) dialogue, or one where any radical possibilities are (or should be) foreclosed by diffuse social control? As such, this is a community justice issue.

We therefore call for papers that address the following, or related themes in relation to preventing hateful and violent extremism:

  • Community leadership, local polities and local (responses to) extremism which occurred, for example, in the aftermath of the Manchester Arena bomb in 2017.
  • Stigmatisation through counter-extremism, e.g. through assumptions that particular demographic categories are uniquely susceptible to extremisms, and how this relates to the stigmatisation of young people more generally
  • Related, the understanding of everyday attitudes and behaviours that may be problematic or not (e.g. everyday sexism and racism, teenage anger, language, mental health issues, communal norms) as indicators or risk factors, especially where this understanding is applied inconsistently
  • Attitudes to counter-extremist interventions by the police and the criminal justice system more broadly
  • The role of wider injustice, and perceptions of injustice, on identities, resistance and radicalisation
  • The normalisation of counter-extremism in community policing and community justice
  • The role of the media in generating ‘concern’ and the need for ‘something to be seen to be done’, particularly where demographic groups, towns or neighbourhoods are given special focus
  • The role of ‘formers’, those who have engaged in extremist activity and reformed, in high-profile and street-level interventions, and the associated ideas of redemption, rehabilitation, and prison education.


The journal is policy and practitioner as well as scholar focused, so writing will be aimed at this wider audience, as well as including writing by policymakers and practitioners.  We call for abstracts or outlines of papers from prospective contributors that address the broad theme of community responses to prevent ‘radicalisation’ and hateful or violent extremism, in the UK or internationally in other jurisdictions.

Please send abstracts or outlines of up to 200 words to by 11th February 2022. Alternatively, do get in touch at the same email address if there is an idea you would like to discuss.

We look forward to receiving your submissions.