Preventing Violent Extremism and Social Work: Recent US History and Prospects
|Preventing Violent Extremism and Social Work: Recent US History and Prospects|
Violent extremism, hate crimes, terrorism, counterterrorism, white supremacy, violence prevention
Anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, and anti-Muslim violent extremism is on the rise in Western nations while jihadist terrorism continues throughout the Middle East and Africa. Despite signifcant eforts by governmental, non-governmental, and civic society organizations to address violent extremism, little progress has been made to prevent it. White supremacist organizations are now organizing globally through a variety of next generation communication networks using techniques developed by ISIS and Al-Qaeda. Throughout, relatively few social work academics have engaged in preventing violent extremism (PVE) scholarship. Though the profession is referenced frequently in the PVE literature, it is dominated by those in psychology and political science. Few articles in major social work journals have discussed social work’s role or advanced PVE research. What has been published has mainly been critical of social work in this arena for legitimate fears of securitization, lack of resources/training, and the potential to discriminate against particular groups. The profession has a long history of impactful work in violence prevention in a myriad of practice areas. Given this wealth of experience and focus on social justice, social work should be a leader in this feld. Areas of potential engagement in practice and research are discussed.