AWID will take up its R&D work to create a “Participatory, Multimedia, Resilience-focused Tool Concept for Prevention of Ideologies of Degradation” – as the full project name also states. With the start in April 2018, high ranking Austrian Experts from 9 partner organizations (incl. the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research) as well as additional supporting stakeholders, will start their practice oriented tasks to reach this high set aim.
Propaganda of radical tendency and containing early stages of “ideologies of degradation” (IOD) of multiple orientations are partially and often intentionally aimed towards juvenile target groups. Specifically in respect of the viral spreading via new and social media, it is highly relevant also for Austria to identify those early attempts of extreme, ideological manipulation and propaganda in a pedagogic/school setting and to develop feasible, simple, and “salutogenetic” counter measures focusing on factors of resilience and resources.
Thus, the AWID project (01.04.2018-31.03.2020) will include a socio-cultural survey of risk- and resilience factors (e.g. visualized by the role of Arabian narratives of religious extremists and their transfer in German towards youth in Austria); the basis for this in-depth research will be a solid evidence based inventory of phenomena, developments and structures leading to differently based forms and levels of radicalization and extremism including topics such as IOD, use of language and visualization data, multi-linguality, and code.
These initial findings are merged with iterative requirements analyses and needs assessments among the diverse user groups of the AWID components (such as teachers, specifically defined groups of pupils, later also youth work) to support the identification and specifically relevant, exemplary areas for the further development and drafting of prevention material/tools. Preventive, technology based teaching and interaction contents supporting the understanding of democracy, tolerance, solidarity and discourse culture in the peer group (in a salutogenetic/resource-oriented approach) will be generated following a priority catalogue.
Three trials of the technological component drafts including the social media dimension of the prevention work at schools will contribute to valid, optimized and target group oriented outputs. In parallel, a practice-oriented, exemplary and multi-media concept for teachers supporting prevention and sensitization in regards of IOD and their negative potential will be generated.
A thorough evaluation of the applied testing of the methods and tool concept in the school context will contribute to the validity of the outputs and the optimization of the components. It will further grant flexibility for the measures countering the dynamic field of social media by supporting the awareness of risks as well as the efficient measures countering IOD in the school setting as well as for open youth work in the preventive sector.
To grant sustainability of the project outputs, an interactive workshop with end users and strategic partners will generate further development and application strategies of the AWID components and findings.
The research project AWID is funded by the Austrian security research program KIRAS of the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (bmvit).
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Envisioned synergies between AWID and TAKEDOWN
With the start of AWID in April 2018, a relevant puzzle peace to support TAKEDOWN´s overall mission, will be further developed. While the H2020 project is working on a broad variety of services and solutions for the prevention and tackling of terrorist networks and organized crime, AWID deliberately focuses on the early preventive sector of youth work and here specifically the work of first line practitioners in schools, one of the main stakeholder groups of TAKEDOWN Taking into account the international perspective of specific findings and the background of TAKEDOWN, the two very ambitious projects will exchange
- Inputs of practitioners,
- Scientific findings in as social sciences, gender-related, legal, ethical, didactic, and technology areas,
- good practices from school context and youth work, and
- technological approaches and solutions
for mutual benefit.
Thus, a transparent and fruitful, additive cooperation will take place to foster and facilitate the further development and promotion of research and development in this important sector.
Karin Rainer, Diana Silvestru – AEI