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Bridging the Gap Between Theory and Practice: An Analysis of the UK Government's Counter-Narrative Strategy in the Fight Against Online Extremist Narratives

Michael O'Connell

No hdae5, OSF Preprints from Center for Open Science

Abstract: This thesis critically examines the UK government's counter-narrative strategy for addressing online extremist narratives, comparing it with best practices and recommendations from academic literature. Amidst increasing criticism regarding the efficacy and theoretical underpinnings of such strategies, this thesis develops a theoretical framework incorporating insights from sociology, communication studies, and psychology to establish comparative criteria for effective counter-narrative approaches. Analysis of the UK's strategy reveals an implicit acknowledgment of the importance of context, filtering, and the integration of online and offline spaces. However, the incorporation of other academic insights and psychology-based policies remains unclear. The thesis underscores the importance of greater transparency in the policy space to enable the evaluation of counter-narrative strategies in instigating behavioural and attitudinal change among target audiences. The thesis also emphasises the significance of exploring inoculation as a proactive approach in Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) strategies. Inoculation-based approaches should be incorporated as an integral component of the counter-narrative toolkit. Doing so could foster a more resilient and proactive stance against extremist narratives at the individual level. Future research should focus on understanding the impact of counter-narrative approaches and their alignment with other academic recommendations to ensure the development of more robust and evidence-based strategies.

Date: 2023-09-26
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-pke
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DOI: 10.31219/

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