Innovative Methodology for preventing Radicalization

to promote Social Inclusion of Youth

Action: Education and Training, Social Inclusion

Grand Agreement Number: 2020-3-DK01-KA205-094059

Programme: Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership

Duration: 1/02/2021 – 31/06/2023

About the Project

Welcome to Open Minds project.

The OPEN MINDS project brings together 7 partners in order to explore the socio-economic drivers of radical religious and political ideologies prone to incite or lead to violence. In the context of the implementation, a strong emphasis will be placed on exit strategies and disengagement from radical contexts and present complementary knowledge on non-radicalizing identity. 

Extensive fieldwork will be conducted and the research findings will be translated into two intervention scenarios (gaming and training) which will directly enable young people to take an active role in a more inclusive Europe.

In a context of increasingly polarized societies, with extremist ideologies spreading and presenting high threats to social cohesion in Europe, the EU and its Member States are recognizing the need to develop effective prevention policies and intervention scenarios supporting social inclusion and cohesive societies. It is especially relevant to focus on psychological and social mechanisms of alienation, radicalization and deradicalization of young people in European urban contexts. Furthermore, as the phenomena of polarization and radicalization affect virtually all European states, two distinct trends have emerged over the past few years: 1) polarization and radicalization seems to involve mainly young people from deprived socio-economic contexts radicalized within their neighborhood or online (The Hague Institute of Social Justice 2016) and 2) the strategic locations chosen for terrorist attacks are very rarely central urban areas in capital city, but more often other urban and peri-urban areas. Both these trends seem to be suggestive that radicalization has become more localized and endogenous (The Hague Institute of Social Justice 2016).

OPEN MINDS project will directly enable young people to take an active role in a more inclusive Europe. Our consortium will draw on the existing state-of-the-art research across relevant disciplines (from conflict and terrorism studies, sociology, psychology, geography, linguistics, moral philosophy, computer science and econometrics) to pave a way for exploring the links between socio-economics, radicalization and deradicalization and related socio-ecological resilience. According to the Societal Readiness Level (SRL), OPEN MINDS will aim to identify social-economic problems, design and pilot solutions and, refine and validate these solutions in close collaboration to stakeholders and civil societ

Intellectual Outputs


Collection and analysis of online and physical data on Social Exclusion and Radicalization

Within IO1, project partners will explore the polarized/radicalized sentiments of twitter users and study how socio-economics affect psychological and social mechanisms of polarization and radicalization of youth living in urban areas of the project countries. Disaggregated spatial analyses (at the sub-district/neighborhood level) on the links between different facets of social exclusion in urban areas (such as income deprivation, employment deprivation, education, skills and training deprivation, health deprivation, crime barriers to housing and services and living environment deprivation), polarization and radicalization will be performed to discover as many relevant socio-economic factors as possible. Experimental surveys for each type of radicalized ideology (Islamist, right and left wing and ethno nationalist) will also be used to gain additional insight into causal mechanisms behind these relationships.


Collection and analysis of deradicalization pathways towards Social Inclusion

IO2 will focus on collection and analysis of deradicalization pathways and exit strategies across age and gender in order to promote social inclusion of youth. IO2 activities will start with the organization of ethnographic field trips into the areas associated with extreme radicalization and investigation of measures existing in these areas regarding deradicalization and social inclusion. Ethnographic data from these field trips will be compared with narrative analysis of deradicalization pathways at the later stage.

The data source for narrative analysis of deradicalization pathways will be online life stories of radicalization and exit experiences of former radicalized individuals (religious and political). There are currently many online life stories and videos on a number of different websites but these have never been systematically collated and analyzed. Subsequently, life stories of former radicalized individuals will be -for the first time- systematically collected from a large pool of existing online resources. These narratives will be systematically analyzed and thermalized and the output of this qualitative narrative analysis will be used to understand exit pathways and disengagement strategies from polarization and radicalization. To complement this analysis, project partners will also evaluate policies and programs for youth social integration at a local level focusing on the major metropolitan areas of the project countries.


Gaming and Training for promoting Social Resilience and Social Inclusion of Youth

Games naturally support education, providing some of the most important characteristics needed for the achievement of an effective learning process. In addition to this, the development of technology and the recent explosion of mobile devices' use have been changing traditional approaches, promoting innovative and more engaging learning environments. Prensky (2001) argues that computer and videogames are possibly the most engaging pastime ever. According to Prensky (2001), this is due to a combination of different elements composing and characterizing games, such as enjoyment, involvement and motivation. This implies that game-based learning contexts provided by mobile technology can increase learner's involvement, which concretely experiences a highly motivating context, which consequently supports effective learning and skill development. This is of particular importance in relation to social inclusion.

The game will focus on equipping youth with the knowledge and skills needed for development of socio-ecological resilience. Avatar profiles will be created for game participants at the start of the game. The main player will interact with the system (gaming environment that will be designed and modified in relation to the project findings) via different levels in a non-multi actor approach. Artificial simulative situations will be created which will challenge the player to develop intellectual agility. The outcomes of IO3 aim to improve socio-ecological resilience at the local level and have three audiences in sight – youth, educators and policy makers. In order to maximize the output’s reach and impact, the game will be translated and made available in all partners’ languages.






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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use that might be made of the information contained therein. 2020-3-DK01-KA205-094059

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