A cautionary tale: CVE policy actors managing risk in Australian schools

Garth Stahl, Mel Baak, Sam Schulz, Andrew Peterson

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    There exists an unsettling relationship between Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) and formal schooling today that remains under-researched and largely unproblematized. This article draws on semi-structured interviews with state level policy actors as they implement a federally funded, small-scale grant to develop Restorative Practice in four Australian schools. The approach – as a form of Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) – was intended to guard against student behaviours deemed ‘at risk’. The data suggest that policy makers are vigilant in conducting their work in relation to a conception of risk and draw on a repertoire of skills when operating in an ‘in-between’ space between federal prerogatives and local communities. Beck’s work on risk and Bourdieu’s notion of habitus inform the analysis. The article focuses on how the habitus of policy actors is brought into tension as they navigate the politicized space of their employment by focusing on four overlapping areas – evidencing the affective dimension, guarding against stigma, strategic use of language and coordinating institutions.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalCurrent Sociology
    Early online date15 Jul 2021
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Jul 2021

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    We thank University of South Australia for funding this research and both anonymous reviewers for their valuable and insightful feedback.

    Publisher Copyright:
    © The Author(s) 2021.


    • Case study
    • Countering Violent Extremism (CVE)
    • habitus
    • policy enactment
    • risk management


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