Growing up radical?

"Growing up radical? The role of educational institutions in guiding young people's worldview construction" is a 4-year research project conducted for the Faculty of Educational Sciences at the University of Helsinki. The project is funded by the Academy of Finland 2018-2022.  

Our research project investigates how educational institutions could guide and support young people's (ages 16-20) identity and worldview construction in ways that support their well-being and resilience and prevent violent radicalisation in the Finnish context. Our study has a particular focus on the life trajectories of those youth, who show strong inclination towards a particular ideology and who identify themselves as having a "radical" worldview. Interdisciplinary in nature, but strongly grounded in the field of educational sciences, the study aims (1) to provide new knowledge about youths’ understanding of “radical” or “extremist” thinking, and (2) to examine the role and possibilities of educational institutions in guiding the students in their worldview construction. To this end, this study investigates how the life trajectories on the one hand, and the educational context on the other hand, influence the construction of the young people’s, as self-ascribed, extremist or radical worldviews. 

Research problem

The overarching research problem is targeted through the following research questions: 

(1) How do young people understand and define "radical" and "normative" in terms of values and worldviews in the Finnish societal context?

(2) What are the factors and mechanisms influencing the individual’s worldview construction that for one lead into a positively meaningful value system and constructive citizenship and for the other into frustration, marginalisation or radicalisation? 

(3) What is the role and possibilities of school education in supporting and guiding children and young people in their worldview construction processes, enhancing their well-being and resilience and preventing polarisation and radicalisation?

The data for this study will be collected from Finnish secondary education institutions during 2019-2020.