Ending terrorism in Italy

Anna Cento Bull, Philip Cooke

Research output: Book/ReportBook

14 Citations (Scopus)


The book analyses in depth the leaders and members of both extreme-left and extreme-right terrorist groups, which operated in Italy in the 1960s and 1970s and in many cases were charged and convicted for their acts of violence.

In the last two decades, and especially in recent years, former extreme-right terrorists have started to talk about their past involvement in terrorist violence, including, for the first time, acts of violence which have for decades been considered taboo, that is to say, bomb attacks against innocent civilians. Surprisingly, these narratives have not been systematically examined, yet they form a unique and extremely rich source of first-hand testimony, providing invaluable insight into processes of youth radicalisation and de-radicalisation, social re-integration of ex-terrorists, as well as personal and collective healing through cultural dialogue among perpetrators, victims and survivors. The memoirs construct ‘myths and plots’ about the past, that can be self-justificatory or indeed self-critical or penitent. They reveal the crucial importance of narratives in bridging the gap between rhetoric and action, in what is a dual process of ‘victimisation’ and ‘violentisation’, in which ideology plays an important, but not necessarily crucial, role.

Post incarceration, the study further asks what was the specific role of the former Italian communist party (PCI, then PDS, DS, PD) on the one hand, and the former Neofascist party (MSI, then AN), on the other, in the process of disengagement and reintegration of the ‘terrorist subject’ back into the non-violent community. Finally, what has the role been of victims’ associations, commemoration ceremonies, monuments and other cultural initiatives in providing a wider context of ‘pacification’?
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationOxford
Number of pages248
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2013

Publication series

NameExtremism and Democracy


  • italy
  • terrorism
  • history
  • legislation
  • prisons


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