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Early interventions with young people to prevent the onset of extremism and radicalisation: An ethnographic study

Davies, Bethan ORCID: 2023. Early interventions with young people to prevent the onset of extremism and radicalisation: An ethnographic study. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Despite growing concerns around the threat of extremism for young people and a corresponding push towards earlier opportunities for prevention, little is known about early interventions occurring before radicalisation has begun. Much existing research has focused on de-radicalisation programmes or policy frameworks such as the UK’s Prevent Strategy, but early intervention prevention practices are less well understood. Within the UK, little is known about how these practices are played out in Wales, though it represents a unique research site with a mixture of both devolved and non-devolved responsibilities for criminal justice and the safeguarding of young people. This thesis is an ethnographic study of extremism and radicalisation prevention with young people in Wales. By studying the practices of early intervention, this research aims to understand the aspirations, organisation and conduct of extremism and radicalisation prevention work. The ethnographic fieldwork combined observations of interventions being delivered to young people, with semi-structured interviews with policymakers and practitioners. By examining early intervention activity in Wales, the thesis analyses the ways intervention practices are shaped by multiple, often competing, ways of framing young people. The research found that, at the earliest point of extremism prevention, there are pressing questions about how ‘early’ is legitimate for interventions to go to prevent potential harms. Though the need to respond to extremism and associated vulnerabilities was widely recognised, policymakers and practitioners are faced with negotiating the risks of action and inaction: the potential for stigmatising young people with the very interventions designed to support them. The research also found practice adaptations including gendered aspects of delivery, innovations in responding to young people’s needs, and influences of Covid-19. Studying the interventions ethnographically revealed complexities in several areas, including competing safeguarding and policy frameworks in Wales, tensions between universal and more individualised provision, and barriers to accessing young people.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council (Criminology pathway)
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 23 October 2023
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2023 10:30

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