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Collaboration and conflict in prevention of violent extremism in Sweden

In 2014, the Swedish government appointed a “national coordinator for protecting democracy against violent extremism”.
The goal was to promote interventions that prevent individuals from “radicalizing” and to offer exit options for those
participating in violent extremism. In line with the coordinator’s guidelines, Swedish municipalities are now developing action plans to prevent radicalization of local youth. The work typically involves a number of occupational groups, including social workers, teachers and police.

These groups are guided by partly different interests, goals and organizational cultures, which can produce novel forms of collaboration as well as potential conflicts. There are also several contradictory goals in local authorities’ work against radicalization. For example, interventions may come in conflict with the educational mission to promote critical thinking or with Swedish society’s encouraging outlook towards youth engagement in civil society.

The project aim is to study how Swedish social services, police, schools and civil society organizations jointly work locally to implement national recommendations to counteract youth engagement in “violent extremism”, and how different actors perceive their roles in this endeavour. How do different occupational groups deal with potentially conflictive objectives as
regards crime prevention and other societal goals concerning social conditions for and socialization of youth? How is implementation affected by different organizational and occupational cultures within social services, schools and the police? And how is it affected by different local contexts? The study will focus local work against “violent extremism” in three Swedish municipalities: Gothenburg, Malmö and Örebro.


Projektleade: Mattias Wahlström
Project co-workers: Magnus Wennerhag, Södertörns högskola
Project co-workers: Jan Jämte, Örebro universitet



Project time

2017 - 2020

Page Manager: Anders Östebo|Last update: 10/12/2016

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