There is a widely-held narrative that we are living through a time of worsening intolerance in the UK, with people becoming more vitriolic and polarised.
But Dr Julian Hargreaves, an adviser to the government’s Commission for Countering Extremism, challenges the evidence.
He wants research to produce a better-informed debate – systematically mapping levels of intolerance, looking at how labels such as “Islamist extremism” can skew the picture and asking whether there are other ways of looking at patterns of extremism.
For instance, instead of looking at religious groups for warning signs of extremism, should we examine links with addictive, obsessive behaviour, such as drug addiction?
Should there be attention to personality types as well as political beliefs?
The commission, set up in the aftermath of the Manchester Arena terror attack, has the task of assessing the scale of extremism and finding ways to tackle any support for such violence.
Categories: Europe and Australia