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BI:JU Biography Work in Open Youth Work as a Resilience-Strenghtening Measure for Radicalisation Prevention

|   Call 2017

In this project, approaches of biography work for the prevention of radicalisation in open youth work will be developed and evaluated.

Causal studies on radicalisation of young people show a failed or fragile identity development and a tenuous relationship towards one’s own biography as central risk factors for turning towards extremist views. Biography work draws on this and supports people in their identity development and the integration of difficult experiences in their own life- and self-concept. Although biography work provides promising tools for the prevention of radicalisation, open youth work (Offene Jugendarbeit - OJA) does not make use of it regularly.

The reasons for this include the fact that existing methodological approaches are not adapted enough for ‘low-threshold’ work of OJA. Further, grounded knowledge about how and under which circumstances these interventions influence the biographical progression of young people and strengthen resilience is needed. Biographically orientated prevention is made more difficult by the fact that there is little research concerning resilience against extremist views, yet knowledge about this is of great importance for successful preventive measures.

Aims and intended outcomes: In this project, adequate approaches of biography work for the prevention of radicalisation in OJA will be developed, and examples of good practice identified:

  • Generating knowledge about factors promoting resilience in the biographical progression of young people, whose living situation and contexts show stress factors (with particular regard to the potential influence of youth workers).
  • Examination of existing approaches of biography work for profitable impulses and development of a set of methods for ‘low-threshold’ biography work in OJA (for single- and group-settings).
  • Practical trial of developed methods in three institutions featuring OJA and accommodating evaluation by the research team.
  • Effective dissemination of outcomes and tools for radicalisation prevention through cooperatively generating knowledge in workshops throughout Austria.
  • Recommendations for safety- and youth politics, public youth work, and education. 

Dr. Hemma Mayrhofer, IRKS – Institut für Rechts- und Kriminalsoziologie

bOJA – Bundesweites Netzwerk Offene Jugendarbeit
VJZ – Verein Wiener Jugendzentren
back bone 20 (Mobile Jugendarbeit)
OJAD – Offene Jugendarbeit Dornbirn
Bundeskanzleramt/Sektion Familien und Jugend
Bundesministerium für Inneres

Dr. Hemma Mayrhofer
IRKS – Institut für Rechts- und Kriminalsoziologie
Museumstraße 5/12
A-1070 Wien
Tel.: 01/ 526 15 16-20