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

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Abstract

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.
Original languageEnglish
JournalStudies in Conflict & Terrorism
Volume44
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)74-92
ISSN1057-610X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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