Educating Against Extremism

Paperback / softback, 156 pages, 243 mm x 156 mm
1 Mar 2008
Trentham Books Ltd

Price: £18.99

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Extremism is a huge concern across the world right now, fuelled by its links to terrorism and religious fundamentalism. This book explores the relationship of education to extremism and examines how education could counter its more dangerous forms.Formal education does little to prevent people joining extremist groups. Neither does it equip young people to analyse fundamentalism. We have seen attacks by suicide bombers who had their schooling in state systems, including in England. It is clear that more is needed than merely literacy. Global communications technologies mean that the way young people organise for either peace or terrorism lies mostly outside the school. But this does not mean that schools are without power. Lynn Davies proposes a very different educational strategy to the conventional tolerant multiculturalism that pertains in the west. The task - a challenging one - is to politicise young people without cementing uncritical acceptance of single truths.The chapters cover: the nature of extremism and myth-making; identity and belonging; religious belief and faith schools; justice and revenge; free speech, humour and satire; and, critical thinking and critical (dis)respect. In proposing an education which allows for alternatives and ambiguity, the book argues for the centrality of political education, media education and active citizenship education, as well as critical and comparative religious education, all firmly based on a universal value position around human rights. A strong civil society is one that is not afraid to critique but which has people with the skills and dispositions to engage in this without violence.

  • Lynn Davies

CONTENTS: Acknowledgements; 1. The nature of extremism; 2. Identity and radicalisation; 3. Segregation, faith schools and the myth of equal value; 4. Justice, revenge and honour; 5. Free speech, offence, humour and satire; 6. Towards critical idealism: The XvX model; References; Index.

"Davies considers the nature of extremism (some nice definitions here) and identity and radicalisation. Probably inevitably, her focus is on Muslim examples but I was impressed, throughout the book, by how she related her themes to analogies with sectarian Christianity."

Malcolm Barry, Book Review, Higher Education Academy, 2008