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Former Extremist Interviews Current Extremist: Self-Disclosure and Emotional Engagement in Terrorism Studies

Causes of radicalisationRadicalisation

Journal Abstract

Studies in Conflict & Terrorism

In this article I describe how recognizing elements from my own extremist past made me emotional while interviewing a jailed terrorist about his motivations for joining Islamic State. I relate how this mood led me to an uncontrolled self-disclosure and recount how he agreed to elaborate on his motivations for joining IS, despite initial reluctance to talk about them. Then, I present some considerations on whether research in which emotional attachment is involved can produce critical scientific knowledge. The basic aim of the article is to develop methods, concepts and means to contribute to research on the motivations of terrorists.

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