The pathways through which some individuals move from confusion, frustration or anger to an acceptance of violence as a mode of political struggle are far from being well understood. It is certainly not clear that the process in question is very different for a would-be terrorist than for a would-be gang member. In reality, it may not be that helpful to focus, as most researchers have, on the role of ideology and extremist beliefs in order to understand these pathways. Fanatically embracing an ideology is not a necessary precursor to terrorism or, for that matter, to a violent criminal career as a member of a gang. The paper explores the possible application of evidence-based gang recruitment prevention, gang desistance, and youth inclusion programmes as a basis for more realistic interventions to prevent violent extremism and to break the pathways to crime and violence.
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