Socio-Cultural Capital and Community Resilience: Perception of University Students about Violent Extremism in Pakistan
Keywords:Violent Extremism, Resilience, Socio-cultural Capital, Violent Behaviour, Beliefs
The importance of Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) has been a topic of recent interest for the global community. Pakistan is no exception to this trend. In recent years, university students have often been targets of extremist violence propaganda. This study aimed to explore perception of university students about violent extremism and the role of socio-cultural capital and community resilience in CVE. Quantitative research design was used to survey students belonging to various public and private universities in three major cities of Pakistan: Rawalpindi, Islamabad, and Peshawar. Due to the COVID-19 lockdown and closure of universities, the online survey technique was used by posting the survey on social media; using personal contacts; and emails. The ‘Building Resilience Against Violent Extremism’ (BRAVE) scale was used to assess the students’ perceptions and behaviour towards violent extremism. 480 students participated in the study over a two-month period. The findings demonstrated a significant role of socio-cultural capital in propagating as well as resisting violent beliefs and behaviour. The study concluded that culture, ethnic background, support from family and community, contribute to strengthening resilience against violent extremism among university students. It is recommended that Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) should promote tolerance and peace through a more human rights-centric curriculum and education about different cultures as well as unbiased teaching practices to promote peaceful ways for resolving conflicts when they arise.
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