Re-Purposing the Push-Pull Model to Describe Signature Patterns of Terrorist Disengagement by Group: A Validation Study.

Marita La Palm

Abstract


Various researchers have developed the push-pull model (Aho, 1988; Altier, Thoroughgood, & Horgan, 2014; Altier, Boyle, Shortland, & Horgan, 2017; Bjorgo 2009). Others have completed research on factors of disengagement (Barrelle, 2014; Gill, Bouhana, & Morrison, 2015). The studies aggregate data from either individual testimonies or group analyses into a broad pool of factors in order to create a universal theory. This paper argues that rather than trying to view all terrorist organizations as having commonalities, the push-pull model can provide a unique perspective of how each group is dissimilar. Each organization has a distinctive pattern of disengagement that aligns with its context. Of particular interest is the positive or negative orientation of members toward their former community. The data from four studies of disengagement from different terrorist organizations also provide a meso-level view to validate the push-pull model, allowing for a comparative analysis of whether some factors occur more frequently or do not appear in specific groups as well as whether some factors are missing from the model. A future counterterrorism application of this paper would be to carry out push-pull analyses of terrorist organizations in order to create a convincing strategy tailored by organization that will encourage members to voluntarily leave.


Keywords


Disengagement, push-pull model, ETA, Islamic State, Ulster Volunteer Force, Red Hand Commando, Jemaah Islamiyah

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References


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