Walking Away from Terrorism: Accounts of Disengagement from Radical and Extremist Movements

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Routledge, 2009 - Political Science - 186 pages
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This accessible new book looks at how and why individuals leave terrorist movements, and considers the lessons and implications that emerge from this process.

Focusing on the tipping points for disengagement from groups such as Al Qaeda, the IRA and the UVF, this volume is informed by the dramatic and sometimes extraordinary accounts that the terrorists themselves offered to the author about why they left terrorism behind. 

The book examines three major issues:

  • what we currently know about de-radicalisation and disengagement
  • how discussions with terrorists about their experiences of disengagement can show how exit routes come about, and how they then fare as 'ex-terrorists' away from the structures that protected them
  • what the implications of these findings are for law-enforcement officers, policy-makers and civil society on a global scale.

Concluding with a series of thought-provoking yet controversial suggestions for future efforts at controlling terrorist behaviour, Walking Away From Terrorism provides an comprehensive introduction to disengagement and de-radicalisation and offers policymakers a series of considerations for the development of counter-radicalization and de-radicalisation processes.

This book will be essential reading for students of terrorism and political violence, war and conflict studies, security studies and political psychology.

John Horgan is Director of the International Center for the Study of Terrorism at the Pennsylvania State University. He is one of the world's leading experts on terrorist psychology, and has authored over 50 publications in this field; recent books include the The Psychology of Terrorism (Routledge 2005) and Leaving Terrorism Behind (co-edited, Routledge 2008)

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About the author (2009)

Dr. John Horgan is Director of the International Center for the Study of Terrorism at Penn State University

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