Terrorists, Victims, and Society: Psychological Perspectives on Terrorism and Its Consequences

By Andrew Silke | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6
Leaving Terrorism Behind: An
Individual Perspective

JOHN HORGAN1
University College Cork


INTRODUCTION

It is no secret that most psychologically based commentary on terrorist behaviour focuses on understanding why people become terrorists. Despite the relatively little progress we have made via a now sterile debate about terrorist personalities, it is at the expense of valuable opportunities being explored that this issue remains perceived as the forefront of 'what psychologists have to say about terrorists'. However, and although few terrorism researchers are likely to agree, the issues surrounding how and why people leave terrorism behind are as fascinating and as important as the more frequently asked questions about terrorist behaviour. Exceptionally little is known or understood about what happens to influence people to leave terrorism behind, and this chapter therefore seeks to shed light on this rarely addressed issue.

1 I would like to thank Graeme Steven and Clark McCauley for comments on an earlier draft
of this chapter. Some of the research presented here was made possible by a Faculty of Arts
Research Award (2000) from University College Cork.

-109-

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