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Political extremism among juveniles in Switzerland: prevalence and risk factors

At a glance


For Switzerland, only little is known about the prevalence of politically extreme orientations and behaviour among young people and according risk factors. This project examines the prevalence and risk factors of three extremism forms among young people: right-wing extremism, left-wing extremism and Islamic extremism.

For this purpose, a random sample of 17-year-old persons from all types of school (upper secondary school, secondary vocational school, basic vocational training and transitional education) is surveyed in several cantons of all language regions in Switzerland. In contrast to previous youth surveys, the focus is therefore on an older youth cohort in which political orientations are more distinct and have a certain stability. The goal is to interview 10'000 young people during school lessons online. Since violent political extremism is very rare, valid results are only possible with a large sample.

The project not only provides insights into the prevalence of extremist orientations and behaviors among adolescents, but also allows for the first time to study the factors influencing extremism across extremisms. Thus differences and similarities between the three considered forms can be identified. The project also contributes to the further development of measurement instruments to collect left-wing and Islamic extremism. For right-wing extremism, well-established instruments already exist. In particular, based on the analyses of the risk factors, existing prevention programs can be optimized or new, targeted measures can be developed.

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