Collaboration and conflict over measures against violent extremism

Research project
Active research
Project size
2 730 000
Project owner
Department of Sociology and Work Science

Forte: The Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare

Short description

In 2014, the Swedish government appointed a "national coordinator to protect democracy against violent extremism".
The aim was to promote measures that prevent individuals from being “radicalized”, and to offer opportunities for drop-outs for those who participate in activities within violent environments. Based on the coordinator's guidelines, Swedish municipalities are now developing action programs to counter young people's radicalization. The activities include a number of occupational groups; from local police, curators and social workers to teachers, leisure leaders and youth leaders.

The purpose of this project is to study how schools, social administration, police and civil society actors work together locally to implement the national coordinator's directive - and how different actors perceive and manage their own role in this activity.

The focus is on how different understandings of the assignment, interests, local conditions, organizational cultures, goal conflicts and logics affect the organizations' work. The professional groups that collaborate in the work against violent extremism are governed by partly different interests, goals and organizational cultures. The meeting between them can create innovative forms of cooperation as well as potential conflicts of interest. There are also a number of possible goal conflicts between crime prevention work and other central societies objectives for young people's social conditions and socialization. For example, the school's mission to safeguard freedom of expression and create trusting teacher-student relationships may conflict with efforts in which teachers are required to pass on information about students who express opinions that suggest radicalization. The project closely studies local efforts against "violent extremism" in three Swedish municipalities: Gothenburg, Malmö and Örebro.


Project leader
Mattias Wahlström, UoG, Department of Sociology and Work Science, Email:

Project members
Magnus Wennerhag, Södertörns University, Social Sciences, Email:
Jan Jämte, Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences, Email: