28 Mar

ISA 2016: Countering Online Violent Extremism: Revisiting Adorno’s ‘Education After Auschwitz.’

The following is the abstract from the first paper I presented recently at the annual International Studies Association Convention:

That violent organisations can target young people directly via social media platforms to spread extremist messaging is of concern.  Millions of Euros are being pumped into programmes to prevent young people being drawn into extremist activities.  Many of these use social media to counter online extremist material.  An increasing variety of actors are involved in this work, from governments and NGOS to former extremists, social media giants, and private companies.  Despite the significant policy and financial focus, little research has been carried out into such projects. 

A recent example, ‘P2P: Challenging Extremism,’ seeks to engage youth in this digital ‘war.’  Run by private company EdVenture, supported by the State Department, this project seeks to harness the power of millennials by working with university students across the world, and having them become ‘educated influencers.’  This paper considers such a project, drawing on the writings of Adorno regarding education, and suggests that it has serious implications not only in the area of CVE but also with regard to education more generally.

Key words:
social media, extremist messaging, education, mass media, Adorno