Australian Counter Terrorism Conference

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


School of Computer and Information Science, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia


Originally published in the Proceedings of the 1st Australian Counter Terrorism Conference, Edith Cowan University, Perth Western Australia, 30th November 2010


Disengagement from radical social groups is a complex process initiated by the experience of a crisis, or disillusionment causing a re-evaluation of involvement. This paper provides a review of the experiences that hinder group involvement and increases the likelihood of disengagement. Utilising the categorisation by Klandersman (2005) and Demant et al. (2008a), the factors are discussed under the themes of normative, affective, and continuance. Normative factors rely on the ideological premise to ensure membership is viewed as a moral obligation, while the affective factors incorporate the social and organisational aspects facilitating emotional attachment to the group, and continuance factors are those influencing the cost and benefits of group involvement. Commitment to radical social groups becomes vulnerable when the material, psychological and communal benefits of membership are outweighed by the resources required for association and the inability to achieve desirable outcomes.