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Open Access By addressing life trajectories and political violence, human rights education can overcome radicalizing narratives

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As the needs and interests of young people are shifting under the influence of demographics and other social developments, 'new stories' have started to attract many that undermine the human rights narrative and nurture radical attitudes. This has consequences for human rights education (HRE). As competing narratives have gained a foothold in major target audiences of HRE, the latter has to realize it is facing an uphill battle. The evidence suggests that HRE can no longer rely on the mere transfer of knowledge and that the 'story of human rights' needs to be told in completely new ways. If HRE aims to change attitudes to be more inclusive and respectful, and to promote a struggle for justice, it has to make its story heard and win people over. Here HRE faces a central dilemma: how to promote fundamental freedoms while including the freedom not to subscribe to these same values? Instead of conceptual persuasion, emphasis should be put more on the affect, and relate to people's lived experiences. Crucially, HRE has to be prepared to make room for the discussion of the paradoxes of political violence. By making clear that it has vital relevance for its audience and can better answer the question of what someone should meaningfully do in life, HRE can change the narrative.
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Keywords: CONFLICT; HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION; NARRATIVES; RELATIONAL LEARNING; YOUTH RADICALIZATION

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 November 2016

More about this publication?
  • Founded in 2003 by the UCL Institute of Education, the journal reflects the Institute's broad interests in all types of education in all contexts - local, national, global - and its commitment to analysis across disciplines using a variety of methodologies. It shares the Institute's aspiration to interrogate links between research, policy and practice, and its principled concern for social justice.

    Drawing on these strengths, LRE is a wide-ranging and engaging journal that features rigorous analysis and significant research across key themes in education, including: public goals and policies; pedagogy; curriculum; organization; resources and technology; and institutional effectiveness. Articles and book reviews are written by experts in education, psychology, sociology, policy studies, philosophy and other disciplines contributing to education research, and by experienced researcher-practitioners working in the field. The highest quality of reporting and presentation are ensured through an independent, anonymised peer-review process. As an entirely web-based open access journal, LRE has been able to offer innovative features and formats including: epistolary conversation; colour photos and illustrations; illustrative video clips.

    LRE welcomes relevant articles and book reviews. Please email them to [email protected]

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