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It is very difficult to learn something new if you haven’t unlearned what you have done before. In this video, CAROLIN GÖRZIG shows how we can better understand and influence the processes by which terrorist groups learn and unlearn violence. Drawing on insights provided by the deradicalization of organizations like the Provisional IRA (Irish Republican Army), and with fieldwork ongoing in territories including Kyrgyzstan and Syria, Görzig argues that particular combinations of pressure, recognition and communication can provide the external impetus for a terrorist group’s unlearning of violence. Seeking to build interdisciplinary links with psychology, sociology and communication science, Görzig’s project is also looking to expand its focus to further topics including right-wing extremism.


Carolin Görzig leads the research group “How Terrorists Learn” at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology. She has previously held positions at Johns Hopkins University and at the EU Institute for Security Studies. Her research focuses on terrorism and international relations in Latin America and the Middle East. Regularly sought out for her expertise by media organizations like Radio France International and Turkish Newsweek, Carolin Görzig is a reviewer for journals including Terrorism and Peace and Security and Political Violence.


Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology

The Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology is one of the world’s leading centres for research in socio-cultural anthropology. Common to all research projects at the Max Planck Institute is the comparative analysis of social change; it is primarily in this domain that its researchers contribute to anthropological theory, though many programmes also have applied significance and political topicality. Fieldwork is an essential part of almost all projects.

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Original publication

Influencing Negotiation Willingness in the Middle East: The Potential Contributions of Private Actors

Hofmann Claudia and Goerzig Carolin
Negotiation Journal
Published in 2016