This paper aims to conduct a systematic and critical review of contemporary literature on processes of polarisation, the role they are perceived as playing in creating a matrix of adversities that can lead to increased vulnerability to what is often termed ‘violent extremism’, and the potential impact of practices that are understood as building pro-social resilience to such adversities.

Through a wide-ranging review, taking in studies and practice on polarisation and ‘violent extremism’, the authors aim to identify a schema of what are broadly conceptualised as vulnerabilities – factors, operating on macro, meso and micro levels, which may either increase or decrease the likelihood that communities become fragmented and polarised within a European context.

The paper is published as a result of the work under the BRaVE (Building Resilience against Violent Extremism and Polarisation) research project, which has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under GA No. 822189.