Counter Stories – Prevention of Radicalisation and Extremist Propaganda through Alternative Narratives
The project Counter Stories develops new tools for supporting early prevention activities against radicalisation. The tools target young people between 13 and 17 years and can be applied by the Austrian law enforcement agency.
The number of potential receivers of extremist propaganda has increased significantly due to the internet, social media and messenger services. This creates new challenges as well as opportunities for police prevention work against radicalization. The propaganda addresses similar emotional triggers and impulses and radicalization patterns overlap. Hence, religiously motivated extremism can be tackled with similar approaches as secularly motivated extremism.
Preventive practices against radicalization often work with alternative narratives. Research has shown that alternative narratives (focusing on inclusion, diversity, openness, and critical thinking) are especially effective in early prevention and also have an impact when applied by state actors such as the police.
The objective of Counter Stories is therefore to develop alternative narratives for early radicalization prevention activities by the police, and to develop didactic concepts as well as a tailored early- prevention toolkit targeting young people between 13 and 17 years. For its embedding in the international state-of-the-art, the project will establish a strong connection with national and international networks, practitioners and initiatives.
In order to develop effective and innovative alternative narratives for the Austrian context, national and international good-practices are analysed and a catalogue of alternative narratives aiming at male and female adolescents in Austria is being developed. In addition, in-depth requirements for the early- prevention-work are discussed with the end-user partner.
As main outputs, on the one hand, a comprehensive didactic methodology and a prevention portfolio (including videos, presentations and a digital guide) for the police prevention-work is developed. On the other hand, a training curriculum, material and training exercises will be prepared for the police officers. The methodology, the prevention portfolio and the training material will be tested in the field and optimized. Finally, the consortium also develops structured recommendations and approaches for raising public awareness as well as an early prevention roadmap for the Austrian federal states.
Lead SYNYO GmbH
Austrian Institute for International Affairs (OIIP)
Centre of Competence for Open Youth Work in Austria (bOJA)
Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI)
Dr. Florian Huber