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Former Extremists in Radicalization and Counter-Radicalization Research

Radicalization and Counter-Radicalization

ISBN: 978-1-83982-989-5, eISBN: 978-1-83982-988-8

ISSN: 1521-6136

Publication date: 9 September 2020


Purpose – This chapter examines how those who study issues related to radicalization and counter-radicalization have recently drawn from the experiences of former extremists to inform our understanding of complex issues in terrorism and extremism studies.

Approach – The authors synthesize the empirical research on radicalization and counter-radicalization that incorporates formers in the research designs. In doing so, the authors trace these research trends as they unfold throughout the life-course: (1) extremist precursors; (2) radicalization toward extremist violence; (3) leaving violent extremism; and (4) combating violent extremism.

Findings – While formers have informed our understanding of an array of issues related to radicalization and counter-radicalization, empirical research in this space is in its infancy and requires ongoing analyses.

Value – This chapter provides researchers, practitioners, and policymakers with an in-depth account of how formers have informed radicalization and counter-radicalization research in recent years as well as an overview of some of the key gaps in the empirical literature.



Scrivens, R., Windisch, S. and Simi, P. (2020), "Former Extremists in Radicalization and Counter-Radicalization Research", Silva, D.M.D. and Deflem, M. (Ed.) Radicalization and Counter-Radicalization (Sociology of Crime, Law and Deviance, Vol. 25), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 209-224.



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