Chapter 15. Disengaging from Terrorism

  1. David Canter Professor
  1. Dr John Horgan Director Associate Professor Research Fellow

Published Online: 17 DEC 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9780470744499.ch15

The Faces of Terrorism: Multidisciplinary Perspectives

The Faces of Terrorism: Multidisciplinary Perspectives

How to Cite

Horgan, J. (2010) Disengaging from Terrorism, in The Faces of Terrorism: Multidisciplinary Perspectives (ed D. Canter), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9780470744499.ch15

Editor Information

  1. University of Huddersfield, UK

Author Information

  1. Pennsylvania State University, USA

  1. I am grateful for comments from Max Taylor on an earlier draft of this paper.

  1. This paper is developed from some earlier work, specifically arguments presented in J. Horgan, ‘Leaving Terrorism Behind’, in A. Silke (Ed.), Terrorists, victims, society (London: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., 2003), and J. Horgan, The psychology of terrorism (London: Routledge, 2005a). This chapter also serves as a preliminary discussion point for a Research Fellowship project on disengagement, sponsored by the Airey Neave Trust in mid - 2006, which the author has recently begun in order to test the hypotheses developed in these discussions. The results of this research will be published in J. Horgan (2009), Walking Away from Terrorism: Accounts of Disengagement from Radical and Extremist Movements, London: Routledge.

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 17 DEC 2009
  2. Published Print: 15 FEB 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470753804

Online ISBN: 9780470744499



  • disengaging from terrorism;
  • strategies for responding to terrorism - with a military focus;
  • developing psychology of terrorism - unattainable objective;
  • identifying issues relating to ‘how’ people become involved;
  • Roots vs. Routes - experiences of individuals who progress into, and through terrorism;
  • disengaging from terrorism;
  • understanding and encouraging disengagement - crucial role in countering extremist violence;
  • disengagement - not to be studied in isolation;
  • reasons for ‘physical’ disengagement - easier to identify;
  • seeds of psychological disengagement


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Introduction

  • Becoming Involved in Terrorism

  • Roots vs. Routes

  • Disengaging from Terrorism

  • The Seeds of Psychological Disengagement

  • Other Psychological Influences

  • Physical Disengagement

  • Implications of Leaving

  • Understanding Disengagement

  • References