Education as prevention: Intersectional feminism in security spaces


  • Kathlyn Elliott Drexel University
  • Saija Benjamin University of Helsinki
  • Arniika Kuusisto Stockholm University
  • Pia Koirikivi University of Helsinki



 Prevention of violent extremism,  Feminist security studies,  education,  intersectional feminism,  post-colonial theory


Purpose: This article argues that the inclusion of education in prevention creates space to address long standing concerns about the racialized and gendered problems created by traditional security approaches

Design/methodology/approach: The article uses intersectional feminism as it’s theoretical lens/basis.

Findings: Education can be a space that allows for more women, non-binary persons, and people of color to engage as policy actors in the prevention of violent extremism. While policy documents emphasize the role education plays, and alludes to the presence of women, non-binary persons, and people of color in education, the research and application often overlooks these perspectives.

Author Biographies

Kathlyn Elliott, Drexel University

Kathlyn Elliott is a postdoctoral researcher at Boston Children’s Hospital in their Trauma and Community Resilience Center working on their Multidisciplinary Violence Prevention. Her research interests include primary prevention through education, teacher agency, and the role of the state in primary and primordial prevention.

Saija Benjamin, University of Helsinki

Saija Benjamin (Ph.D.) is a visiting scholar at the Faculty of Education at the University of Helsinki. She's studying young people's identities, mindsets, resilience, and the prevention of radicalization and extremism in and through education (PVE-E). She is especially interested in how the (dis)satisfaction of basic psychological needs is related to negative developmental processes, such as radicalization. Together with her colleagues, Benjamin has developed the internationally recognized REDI model for the prevention of radicalization in Finnish education. 

Arniika Kuusisto, Stockholm University

Arniika Kuusisto, PhD, is Professor in Early Childhood Education at the Department of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, and Honorary Research Fellow at the Department of Education, University of Oxford. Her research interests are in children's and youths' value learning trajectories and worldview construction, and the related teacher professionalism and teacher education. At present, Kuusisto is the PI of the Academy of Finland funded (Grant No. 315860) research project Growing up Radical? The role of educational institutions in guiding young people's worldview construction.

Pia Koirikivi, University of Helsinki

Pia Koirikivi, PhD, is a university lecturer at the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland. Pia is interested in the ways in which educational systems and institutions can respond to the social, emotional, and academic needs of young people. 


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