Analysing processes of distancing from three dimensions: A systematic approach



To date, most research conducted on deradicalisation processes focuses exclusively on the self-perceptions of the extremists and terrorists, who are themselves in the process of deradicalisation. However, this single viewpoint is narrow and likely to miss key insights about the nature of the process, such as key aiding or inhibiting factors. To widen the perspective, achieve deeper and more nuanced insights, as well as contribute to the currently insufficient foundation of available data on deradicalisation processes of Islamist extremists in Germany, the applied research project DISLEX 3D includes the perspectives of two additional actor groups in the analysis of the deradicalisation process: persons from the social environment of the affected individuals, such as parental figures or girlfriends of the respective extremists/terrorists, and the P/CVE experts, who are involved in accompanying the deradicalisation processes of the affected individuals. Additionally, by selecting three different types of cases (ongoing cases, cases of self-distancing, and cases that deradicalised/distanced with professional assistance), a holistic picture of the different perspectives and experiences is created and potential “blind spots” can be identified to improve the practice of deradicalisation experts. To achieve this, the DISLEX 3D project team is conducting research on 15 cases of deradicalisation with over 55 interviews across the three stakeholder groups of distancing extremists/terrorists, persons of their social environment, and their deradicalisation experts. The interviews are then double blind coded and analysed regarding the different perspectives. In total three reports and a monograph will be published with project partners.



Project Partners


Institut für interdisziplinäre Konflikt- und Gewaltforschung der Universität Bielefeld (IKG)


Violence Prevention Network e.V.



Duration: 03|2019 – 02|2022

Project lead:
Dr. Dennis Walkenhorst




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