Professor Alpaslan Özerdem is at the Centre for Peace and Reconciliation Studies, Coventry University, U.K. With field research experience in Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, El Salvador, Kosovo, Lebanon, Liberia, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, and Turkey, he specializes in the politics of humanitarian interventions, disaster response, security sector reform, reintegration of former combatants, and post-conflict state building. He has also taken an active role in the initiation and management of several advisory and applied research projects for a wide range of national and international organizations. He has published extensively and is coauthor of Disaster Management and Civil Society: Earthquake Relief in Japan, Turkey and India (I. B. Tauris, 2006); author of Post-war Recovery: Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (I. B. Tauris, 2008); co-editor of Participatory Research Methodologies in Development and Post Disaster/Conflict Reconstruction (Ashgate, 2010); coauthor of Managing Emergencies and Crises (Jones & Bartlett, 2011); and co-editor of Child Soldiers: From Recruitment to Reintegration (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).
Dr. Sukanya Podder is a lecturer in International Development at the Centre for Security Sector Management (CSSM) at Cranfield University, and the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom (Shrivenham). Her research and advisory/consulting work is focused upon issues of postconflict reconstruction, security sector reform, and youth involvement in conflict and peace-building. She has previously worked at the University of York and Coventry University (U.K.). With field research experience in Liberia, Mindanao, Sri Lanka, and India, she specializes in qualitative research methods and participatory action research. She has recently completed a British Academy-funded research on youth participation in civil conflict in Mindanao, the Philippines, and is currently working on her third book, Youth in Conflict and Peacebuilding: Mobilization, Reintegration and Reconciliation with A. Özerdem (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).
Counterterrorism, Ideology, Islamic culture and politics, Nonstate actors, Radicalization, Religious violence, Social movements, Terrorism / counterterrorism, Violent extremism
In the complex of motivating variables that define the push and pull factors behind recruitment and participation in civil conflict, “radicalization”—or “violent extremism”—is not conceived as a very strong motive, as is the case with studies on terrorism. As part of disarming youth combatants,the linkages between reintegration outcomes and possible rerecruitment into radical and extremist violence must be better understood to mitigate such risks. In our analysis, the policies guiding reintegration of child soldiers and youth should be better attuned to the relationship between recruitment motivations and reintegration outcomes, and must be approached from a political lens rather than a purely technical one. The risk of radicalization and involvement in violent extremism is ultimately a structural challenge, which needs to address root causes of recruitment rather than trying to find a solution through a band-aid approach of stopgap reintegration assistance.
Özerdem, Alpaslan and Podder, Sukanya. “Disarming Youth Combatants: Mitigating Youth Radicalization and Violent Extremism.” Journal of Strategic Security 4, no. 4 (2011): 63-80.