skip to primary navigationskip to content

Developmental Pathways into Radicalization: Predictors of Support for Political Violence

When Dec 01, 2015
from 05:30 PM to 07:00 PM
Where Room B3, Institute of Criminology, University of Camrbidge
Add event to calendar vCal

How do radical ideas evlolve in individuals and what is the best way to achieve de-radicalisation?

This question is at the core of understanding terrorist acts around the world and developing strategies to combat them. Prof. Manuel Eisner (Director of the Violence Research Centre, University of Cambridge) and Sergio Triana (former public official of the Colombian government and current PhD student at the Violence Research Centre, University of Cambridge) will explore the pathways of radicalisation and de-radicalisation in a colloquium. You are encouraged to contribute to a discussion following the talks with your critical questions and ideas in the light of the most recent terrorist attacks.


Title: Developmental Pathways into Radicalization: Predictors of Support for Political Violence among Adolescents

Speaker: Prof. Manuel Eisner - Director of the Violence Research Centre, University of Cambridge

Very little is known about the developmental processes that lead to the political radicalization of young people. In my talk I will present initial findings based on unique data from the z-proso longitudinal study, where support for political violence was assessed at age 17. Findings suggest that a very substantial minority of young people in Zurich at least partly supports political violence. Using information from prior waves the talk will explore the extent to which various potential risk factors for radicalization are empirically supported.  Among others I will examine factors such as religion and religiosity, lack of trust in the political system, generalized pro-violence beliefs, exposure to violent media contents, and strain due to adverse life events. In the study population over 60% have an immigrant background, making the findings particularly salient to  the current debate about migration and radicalization.


Title: Reintegration of ex-combatants: A peace building and security program

Speaker: Sergio Triana - former public official of the Colombian government and current PhD student at the Violence Research Centre, University of Cambridge

After the end of the Second World War and followed by the Cold War new type of conflicts have emerged. The most common in developing regions of the world is asymmetric conflict, which is based on a conflict between two or more parties. One party is the government and the other is a Non-State Armed Group (NSAG). This type of conflict has been taking place in Latin America and the Caribbean, East Europe, Africa and South East Asia regions during and after periods of State building process and transition to democracy. The window of opportunity for asymmetric conflicts usually includes: independency process, weak capacity of the State, low State legitimacy and monopoly of power, and ethnic, religious rivalries, among others risk scenarios.

Therefore it is important to analyze the risks and strategies that have been used to create peace-building scenarios during and after conflict. The main policy tool of analysis during the workshop is Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR).

The presentation will focus on the description of the reintegration process of ex-combatants (NSAG) by focusing on the Colombian case.



Prof. Manuel Eisner

Manuel Eisner is Professor of Comparative and Developmental Criminology at the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge. He is also the director of its Violence Research Centre. From 1993 to 2001 he was assistant professor at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. He is a Fellow of the Society of Experimental Criminology and was recipient of the 2011 Sellin Glueck Award by the American Society of Criminology. Currently he serves as a member of the US National Academy of Sciences Roundtable on “Understanding CrimeTrends”.

Manuel is a historian and sociologist by training and works on the history of violence in Europe, especially the long-term change in levels of homicide and its explanation. As part of his interest in macro-level patterns of violence he has also worked with Amy Nivette on the link between state legitimacy and homicide cross-nationally. 

He is the principal investigator (with Denis Ribeaud) of the Zurich Study on the Social Development of Children, an ongoing longitudinal study of 1400 children born in 1997/8. Work emerging from this study has examined, amongst others, the link between trustworthiness and aggression, the effects of early childcare on externalizing behavior, and the development of sex differences in aggression. He is also co-author of an epidemiological study on adolescent sexual victimization in Switzerland.

Manuel has conducted two randomized field-trials on the effectiveness of prevention programmes and takes an interest in the methodological quality of reporting on trial outcomes.

He is active in promoting evidence-based violence prevention in Switzerland, the UK, Europe, and internationally. Amongst others, a recent self-report study on youth violence in Uruguay will help to inform the government about more effective strategies. His work been supported, amongst others, by the Jacobs Foundation, the Swiss National Science Foundation, the European Science Foundation, the Optimus Foundation and the Nuffield Foundation.

Sergio Tirana

Mr. Sergio Triana is currently a Doctoral student at the Institute of Criminology (University of Cambridge, Law Faculty), holds a Master of Public Affairs (SciencesPo, Paris), a Master of Public Administration (Columbia University, SIPA) and a Political Sciences bachelor degree (Universidad de Los Andes, Colombia). 

As a public official Mr. Triana has been a practitioner in peace building, security and Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) in different region as Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).  Therefore, he has leaded technical cooperation projects with the following countries: the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Indonesia and Timor-Lest by representing the Colombian government (Colombian Agency for Reintegration, Presidency of the Republic. Director´s advisor and coordinator of the foreign affairs and knowledge area). In the international affairs sector, Mr. Triana has worked for the Interamerican Development Bank (IADB) as Junior advisor in the Vice-presidency of Sector (VPS) and the Institution for Development sector (IfD) in topics as modernization of the State, welfare policy and citizen security in the LAC. 

Furthermore, he was part of the following publications and articles: i. “Different paths to Peace Building.  A comparative analysis of DDR programs in Colombia and the Province of Aceh, Indonesia” (2015), ii.  “Global DDR Summit South-South Cooperation analysis, 2013” (ACR – IOM & USAID, 2014), iii. “3rd Forum of Social Responsibility: Transitional Justice and Reconciliation” (ACR and Nogal Foundation, 2014), iv. “The Modernization of the State in Latin America and the Caribbean and the role of the Development Banks –Spanish-” (IDB &WB, 2011), v. “Asociaciones Público Privadas para la Prestación de Servicios. Una visión hacia el futuro. (IDB, 2011), vi. “Strategy for Institutions for Growth and Social Welfare (IDB, 2011), vii. “Counter drug trafficking policy: Policy shift by thinking in the country producers” (, 2009), viii. “Strategy for the protection of vulnerable populations” (Columbia University, 2009), and ix. “Operational Youth Development Action Plan -Colombia, Ecuador & Perú-“ (IDB, 2007). 

Join the VRC on social media!

Join us on Youtube and Facebook

Would you like to stay updated about the Violence Research Centre's research, events, news in the field of global violence reduction and opportunities to work with us? "Like" us on Facebook. If you have missed some of our past events, have a look at our YouTube Channel. You can now find us on LinkedIn and Twitter