Resilient Identities

L’identité, c’est la guerre (R. Martelli, 2012)

“All stories are incomplete. Yet in order to construct a viable identity for myself and give meaning to my life, I don’t really need a complete story devoid of blind spots and internal contradictions. To give meaning to my life, a story needs to satisfy just two conditions: first, it must give me some role to play… Second, whereas a good story need not extend to infinity, it must extend beyond my horizons.” (Y.N. Harari, 2018)

Welcome to the web page of our Resilient Identities-lab.

In 2016, the EU ministers responsible for youth affairs agreed on exploring a social-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 which a resilient approach is developed.

What is it like to grow up in polarizing environments? Which programs are most likely to prevent alienation and radicalization in the form of violence? Which programs are most likely to promote the kind of attitudes that help them grow into active, responsible citizens? Together with policymakers, law enforcement agencies, young people and youth workers, this lab 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 social robust role in a theme dominated by the security agenda.

Our research is funded by a variety of partners. Key financial supporters are

  • The Ministry of Volksgezondheid, Welzijn en Sport, The Netherlands
  • The Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek, NWO
  • The European Commission, EU.


The Resilient Identities lab has been granted funds for a two-year study, called ADDRESSING VIOLENT RADICALISATION: A MULTI-ACTOR RESPONSE THROUGH EDUCATION. The EDURAD project, as it is called, aims to build on existing research and practices in order to develop a multi-actor, effective and comprehensive educational approach to address both the radicalization process and the violence associated with it. The priority area the project focuses on is the education sector, adopting a broad perspective that includes formal, informal and non-formal education.

Consortium Partners are:

# Participant Legal Name Country Action


Universitat für Kunstlerische und Industrielle Gestaltung Linz Austria
2 National University of Ireland Maynooth Ireland
3 CSI Center for Social Innovation Ltd Cyprus
4 Stichting VU Netherlands
5 Eia – Ensino e Investigacao e Administracao Sa Portugal
6 Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences Germany


  • The study ‘Resilience in PVE’ examines the impact of PVE policies towards building resilience, based on document analysis and non-experimental qualitative fieldwork. Building resilience is increasingly seen as a central approach for preventing violent extremism. Many policies call on practitioners and governments to work together for this goal. Yet, resilience can mean many different things to many different people, with different views on what it looks like and how it can be developed. The current project traces out the different ways of thinking about resilience to radicalisation that exist amongst policymakers and practitioners. It is anticipated that tracing out these different perspectives can lay the foundation for deeper discussion on these issues amongst people coming from different stand points.
  • The study ‘Authoritative alliances’ is both descriptive (examining 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 build resilience in co-creation with these local partners within an action-research design. It examines the value of a local positive youth policy for placing sensitive social issues such as extremism and exclusion on the agenda. Within this environment, researchers work together with professionals from the field to gain insight into the (pedagogical) value and effects of local social and cultural interventions. The research program wants to gain insight into the (pedagogical) value and effects of local social and cultural interventions, when coaching young people in their identification and participation process.
  • The study on the EPJO police projectexamines the role of 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 practitioners 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 expertise lab investigates to what extent resilience of young people against polarisation and violent radicalization is (positively) influenced.

Besides research, The Resilient Identities lab 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 an engaged social science that prepares professionals to deal with identity issues at a local, national and international level.