Dissecting Deradicalization: Challenges for Theory and Practice in Germany


  • Till Baaken Violence Prevention Network (VPN), Berlin
  • Judy Korn Violence Prevention Network (VPN), Berlin
  • Maximilian Ruf Violence Prevention Network (VPN), Berlin
  • Dennis Walkenhorst Violence Prevention Network (VPN), Berlin




deradicalization, extremism, prevention, fields of action, Germany


Compared to the topic of radicalization, deradicalization was long treated as secondary in research, at least until recently. This article outlines the most important findings from theory and practice in three steps by: (1) discussing and reviewing existing classifications and typologies, (2) suggesting a conceptualization of the term “deradicalization” while considering discourses about the roles of ideology, identity and risk, and, based on this, (3) providing an overview of the empirical case of practical work in Germany. It turns out that central actors from practice, academia, (security) authorities and politics not only use different definitions, but there is also little agreement on what deradicalization (practically) means. The German case shows that the landscape of deradicalization, differentiated into four fields of action, is highly diverse. However, the existing hybrid model of state and civic competences as well as the variety of approaches and actors should – with proper accentuation – be seen as an opportunity.






Focus (2): What do we know about radicalization?