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S&T Organizational [Dis]trust: Comparing Disengagement Among Former Left-Wing and Right-Wing Violent Extremists

In order to move beyond the existing push/pull framework to understand disengagement, we apply a systematic coding scheme derived from Mayer and colleagues’ integrative model of organizational trust to examine why people leave extremist groups. In doing so, we also rely on in-depth life history interviews with twenty former left- and right-wing extremists to examine whether antecedents of distrust vary between the two groups. Findings suggest substantial similarities and important differences between left- and right-wing extremists’ decision to leave. In particular, perceptions of poor planning and organization, low-quality personnel and vindictive behavior generate perceptions of organizational distrust and disillusionment. Although findings from the current study are based on a relatively small sample, notable similarities were identified between both groups regarding sources of distrust (e.g., leaders, group members). We also identified differences regarding the role of violence in weakening solidarity and nurturing disillusionment with extremist activities. We conclude this article with suggestions for future research that extend the study of terrorism and that may have significance for how practitioners address countering violent extremism initiatives.

S&T Narratives of Childhood Adversity and Adolescent Misconduct as Precursors to Violent Extremism: A Life-Course Criminological Approach

Objective: We examined how nonideological factors such as childhood risk factors and adolescent conduct problems precede participation in violent extremism (VE). Methods: We conducted in-depth life-history interviews with former members of violent White supremacist groups (N = 44) to examine their childhood and adolescent experiences, and how they explain the factors that led to the onset of VE. Results: Based on self-reports, we found substantial presence of childhood risk factors and adolescent conduct problems as precursors to participation in violent extremist groups. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that pathways to VE are more complex than previously identified in the literature and that violent extremists are a heterogeneous population of offenders whose life histories resemble members of conventional street gangs and generic criminal offenders. We conclude our article with implications related to criminological theory, directions for future research, and limitations.

S&T Leaving the World of Hate: Life-Course Transitions and Self-Change

The topic of hate group membership and radicalization toward extremist ideologies has received substantial attention in recent years; however, relatively less is known about the process of disengagement and deradicalization. This is troubling because the number of hate groups in the United States has increased and some are known to engage in a variety of violent and criminal behavior. This exploratory study relies on life history interviews with 34 former white supremacists, one of the oldest types of hate groups in the United States, to examine the process of exit from these groups. Findings suggest that exiting is a multifaceted process with a variety of factors that influence a person’s decision to leave. The results also highlight a number of difficulties associated with exiting such as ongoing emotions of guilt, ideological relapse, and maintaining social ties with current members of the white supremacist movement.

S&T Addicted to Hate: Identity Residual among Former White Supremacists

The process of leaving deeply meaningful and embodied identities can be experienced as a struggle against addiction, with continuing cognitive, emotional, and physiological responses that are involuntary, unwanted, and triggered by environmental factors. Using data derived from a unique set of in-depth life history interviews with 89 former U.S. white supremacists, as well as theories derived from recent advances in cognitive sociology, we examine how a rejected identity can persist despite a desire to change. Disengagement from white supremacy is characterized by substantial lingering effects that subjects describe as addiction. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of identity residual for understanding how people leave and for theories of the self.

Engaging with Public Safety and Industry at APCO

APCO is a great reminder of the real-world impact technology has for the men and women who keep our communities safe, and how communications capabilities are the backbone for effective response.

S&T Automated Speech Recognition Technology — Hands-free Solutions for First Responders Fact Sheet

First responders are often in critical situations where a hands-free voice interface solution could enhance their situational awareness and help ensure their safety. As part of its mission to support the identification and integration of existing and emerging technologies, the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has partnered with the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL) to develop potential Automated Speech Recognition (ASR) technology solutions.

S&T Improvements, Updates, and Support for the TEVUS Portal

The Terrorism and Extremist Violence in the United States (TEVUS) Database addresses the lack of publically available, reliable data about the incidents of terrorism and violent extremism in the United States by bringing together four open-source data sets developed by START and affiliated consortium researchers.

S&T Leveraging a Targeted Violence Prevention Program to Prevent Violent Extremism: A Formative Evaluation in Los Angeles

This report represents the results of a formative evaluation conducted from December 2015 to November 2016. The data and results reflect what was learned during that time period and are not intended to represent the status of subsequent efforts in Los Angeles. “Countering Violent Extremism,” or CVE, refers to proactive actions to counter efforts by extremists to recruit, radicalize, and mobilize followers to violence.


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