Violent extremism threatens human life and safety. Often overlooked is how violent extremists endanger the public sphere. We develop the concept of ‘democratic resilience’ drawing on the theory of deliberative democracy, and novel empirical research on countering violent extremism (CVE) in Australia, to analyse how public spheres respond to violent extremism. A democratically resilient public sphere is defined by its capacity to sustain integrative and tolerant public discourse when subjected to external shocks. This research furthers our understanding of how violent extremism affects the public sphere, and what matters in promoting a democratically resilient response. Empirically, the research draws on document analysis of CVE policies and programs as well as semi-structured interviews conducted with actors involved in developing and/or implementing them in New South Wales, Australia.
Jordan McSwiney is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance at the University of Canberra. His research focuses on the far right, with a particular interest in the organisation of far-right parties and movements, and their use of social media. His work has been published in Information, Communication & Society, New Media & Society, and Patterns of Prejudice.