Patterns of Disengagement from Violent Extremism: A Stocktaking of Current Knowledge and Implications for Counterterrorism

  • Anja Dalgaard-Nielsen


This chapter takes stock of what we do and do not know from primary sources about individuals’ disengagement from violent extremism. It points to three broad patterns: doubts related to the binary nature of the extremist world view, disappointment with peers or leaders, and changing personal priorities. The chapter shows how, for example, first-hand exposure to extremist violence or being condemned by mainstream society can either reinforce radicalization or expedite disengagement and argues that one-size-fits-all counterterrorism measures should be supplanted by a differentiated approach to violent extremists to increase their chances of voluntary disengagement.


Exit Disengagement Violent extremism Counter terrorism 


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anja Dalgaard-Nielsen
    • 1
  1. 1.Royal Danish Defence CollegeCopenhagenDenmark

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