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Religions 2018, 9(12), 420;

How and Why Education Counters Ideological Extremism in Finland

Department of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, Siltavuorenpenger 3A, PO 9, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
Barn-och ungdomsvetenskapliga institutionen, Stockholm University, Frescati Hagväg 16b, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Department of Education, University of Oxford, 15 Norham Gardens, Oxford OX2 6PY, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 November 2018 / Revised: 14 December 2018 / Accepted: 14 December 2018 / Published: 18 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Education, Security)
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The intensification of radical and extremist thinking has become an international cause of concern and the fear related to terrorism has increased worldwide. Early 21st century public discourses have been correspondingly marked by hate speech and ideological propaganda spread from a variety of perspectives through the intensified presence of global social media networks. In many countries, governments have reacted to these perceived and actual threats by drafting policies and preventive programs and legal-security interventions to tackle radicalization, terrorism itself, as well as ideological extremism. Many of the current strategies point to the critical role of societal education. As a result, educational institutions have gained growing importance as platforms for different kinds of prevention protocols or counter-terrorism strategies. However, notably less attention has been paid on the consistencies of values between the aims of the educational strategies for preventing or countering ideological extremism and the core functions of education in fostering individual and societal well-being and growth. Using Finnish education as a case, this paper discusses the challenges and possibilities related to educational institutions as spaces for preventing violent extremism, with special regard to the religious and nationalistic ideologies that divert from those inherent in the national hegemony. This study highlights the need to plan counter-terrorism strategies in line with national educational policies through what we conceptualize as ‘institutional habitus’. View Full-Text
Keywords: religion; security; nationalism; political violence religion; security; nationalism; political violence
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Niemi, P.-M.; Benjamin, S.; Kuusisto, A.; Gearon, L. How and Why Education Counters Ideological Extremism in Finland. Religions 2018, 9, 420.

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