Is de-radicalisation of former terrorists helpful or even possible? This presentation explores the processes involved in leaving social movements or disengaging from terrorist activities.
This presentation explores the processes involved in leaving social movements or disengaging from terrorist activities by providing an analysis of transformation away from politically motivated violence towards a civilian non-military role as part of the wider Northern Irish peace process amongst Loyalist and Republican paramilitary groups. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was employed to gain an understanding of participant accounts of leaving violence behind and disengaging from terrorism. Analysis of the interview transcripts revealed the interplay of individual, organization and societal level processes in incentivizing and obstructing disengagement from politically motivated violence. The findings resonate with other case studies exploring the processes involved in disengagement from political violence among other terror groupings across the globe. The results are discussed in relation to a number of topics, including the implementation DDR in post-conflict societies, the dynamic role of collective identity in the engagement in and disengagement from politically motivated violence, the role of prison in shaping disengagement from politically motivated violence and whether the de-radicalization of former combatants is helpful or indeed possible.
Neil Ferguson is Professor of Political Psychology at Liverpool Hope University and a Visiting Research Fellow to the Changing Character of War Programme at Pembroke College, Oxford.