Between Deradicalisation and Disengagement: The Re-engagement of the Radical Actor?
Based on his experience working as a sociologist in the field of violent extremism, Conti argues that the terms “disengagement” and “deradicalisation” are limited in their meaning, as they consider the radicalised person “as an actor with no legitimacy and without any genuine political commitment”. Offering a new approach to reintegrating radicalised individuals into society, Conti describes a 2015 study which he conducted entitled engagements citoyens (“civic commitments”) in which 12 inmates were interviewed and encouraged to speak about their struggles inside and outside of prison, while also speaking with prison staff and other members of society. The primary aims of this programme were to enable inmates to engage in conversation with individuals having different perspectives and to continue instructing them in light of what they revealed in the last phase of the programme, during which they spoke about themselves and described “personal hardship related to their backgrounds”. Conti concludes that this programme revealed the necessity for inmates to be offered a safe space to verbalise their anger and feelings of injustice.