A toolkit for local authorities
Current Affairs Committee
Tel : +33 3 88 41 21 10
Our approach consists of three elements, each focusing on one aspect of the issue of radicalisation in Slovak society: first-line practitioners and people in daily contact with manifestations of extremism on the local level, representative of political parties and policy-makers on different levels and so called “reluctant radicals”, i.e. people with tendency to vote for extremist party under certain circumstances.
Firstly, our aim is to provide a platform for local actors to discuss their experience and opinions of the most pressing issues of the region and to share best practices how to counter extremist actions. The target region of the project, Gemer, is located on the south-east part of the Slovak Republic and it is a region with serious socio-economic problems along with extremely strained relations among majority and minorities, especially Roma. With the support and knowledge of local NGO representatives, who are well-known and accepted by local citizens, and by applying the Chatham House Rules on the discussions ensuring sincerity and relaxed attitudes, we are successful to encourage people to speak openly, freely and without any fear. As a result, the discussion platform is set up, taking local actors as partners in the process of formulating a strategy of countering extremism in their surroundings, rather than lecturing the target group.
Secondly, our aim is to strengthen importance of the topic of extremism and radicalisation in political discourse and to contribute to “politicise” the problem. We also enforce the discussion with representatives of major political parties in the Slovak Republic as well as representatives of municipalities in target regions in order to turn the attention of major political parties on the issue of extremism and radicalisation in the society and to formulate strategies to deal with this security problem on the policy level. Via ongoing consultations with political parties’ representatives, mayors and young political party’s members we push the sensitive issues and force political representatives to take a position.
Thirdly, as a reaction to the electoral success of leader of right-wing extremist political party in gubernatorial elections, we also explore the development of voting behaviour in Central Slovakia region in elections in general. In practice it can also help us to design possible interventions in order to shape people’s perceptions. Based on the Moral Foundations Theory and Theory of Political Attitudes, employing these research methods will also create opportunities for designing experiments based on story editing, and intervention techniques devised to reshape people’s narratives about themselves and the world in a way that results in lasting behavioural change. As a result, we will test and analyse possible ways how to communicate and frame sensitive issues in the public discourse.
Radka Vicenová, Programme Director for Emerging Threats
Tel: (+421) 907 391 993
811 06 Bratislava