Resilient Identities

Why do so many (young) citizens find it difficult to live alongside each other? Which adults and which programs are most likely to prevent alienation and radicalization in the form of violence? And what dimensions of development should we focus on? Together with policymakers, law enforcement agencies, young people and youth workers, the Expertise lab Resilient Identities conducts research into these questions. All partners who unite in the lab are confronted with the disruptive effects of social alienation, polarisation and (sometimes also) extremism in various ways, and feel the need to take on a sufficiently robust role in a theme dominated by the security agenda. In 2016, the EU ministers responsible for youth affairs agreed on exploring a pedagogical approach to understanding and tackling violent radicalization. In collaboration with local partners, the Resilient Identities lab examines formal and non-formal contexts of upbringing and civic education while supporting a diverse range of practices in their efforts to build resilience in three studies. A first study examines the impact of PVE policies towards building resilience, based on document analysis and non-experimental qualitative field work. A second study is both descriptive (examinating 15 formal and non-formal contexts of upbringing and civic education drawing mainly on qualitative, non-experimental, fieldwork) and normative as it helps practices to building resilience in co-creation with these local partners within an action-research design. A third study examines the role for police in building resilient identities, consisting of ethnographical classroom observations (non-experimental) of group interactions between police officers and children (10-14yrs) in the context of civic education programs. Researchers and practicioners investigate what socio-pedagogical elements are most effective when it comes to promoting resilient identity building. By carrying out experiments in various locations with the formation of ‘authoritative alliances’ between police, youth workers young people, the expertiselab investigates to what extent resilience of young people against polarisation and violent radicalization is (positively) influenced. Besides research, Resilient Identities develops also (post)academic education to ensure that social strategies will be adopted by professionals and organizations operating in the social frontline. Through continuous reflection and co-creation between researchers and social partners, we strive for a engaged social science that prepares professionals to deal with identity issues at a local, national and international level.