Exit from terrorism: A qualitative empirical study on disengagement and deradicalization among members of ETA

  • Reinares F
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Terrorists disengage from the groups or organizations to which they belong as a result of structural, organizational, or personal factors. These types of factors seem to operate with relative mutual independence. All this can be analytically induced from research conducted at an individual level of analysis, based on 35 long interviews with former members of ETA who voluntarily decided to conclude their militancy at some point between 1970 and 2000. Until the mid-1980s, the individual decision to leave ETA tended to be linked to a subjective perception of ongoing polit- ical and social changes. From then on, disagreement with the internal functioning of the ethno-nationalist terrorist organization or the tactics adopted by its leaders became more salient motivations for those militants who decided to walk away. All along, however, there were ETA members who left terrorism behind for reasons of a rather personal nature. As expected, in this qualitative empirical study, disengage- ment was found to be a process seldom concomitant to that of deradicalization.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Deradicalization
  • Disengagement
  • ETA
  • Ethno-nationalist terrorism
  • Terrorists

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  • Fernando Reinares

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