Young veterans, not always social misfits : a sociological discourse of Liberian transmogrification experiences

Agbedahin, Komlan (2012) Young veterans, not always social misfits : a sociological discourse of Liberian transmogrification experiences. PhD thesis, Rhodes University.




This thesis examines the phenomenon of child-soldiering from a different perspective. It seeks to challenge, using a novel approach, earlier studies on the roles of former child-soldiers in post-war societies. It focuses on the subjectivity of young veterans, that is war veterans formerly associated with armed forces and groups as children during the 14-year gruesome civil war which bedevilled Liberia between 1989 and 2003. This civil war claimed roughly 250,000 lives, and saw the active participation of approximately 21,000 child-soldiers. This thesis departs from previous works which mostly painted an apocalyptic picture of young veterans, and explores the nexus between their self-agency, Foucauldian technologies of the self and their transformation in the post-war society. The majority of previous scholarly works which have dominated the field of child-soldiering dwelt on the impact of armed conflict on the child-soldiers, the negative consequences, the causes of child-soldiering, and the rehabilitation and reintegration of the young veterans after their disarmament and demobilization. What this thesis seeks to do however, is to establish that, rather than considering the young veterans simply as social misfits, distraught and dispirited human beings, it should be noted that young veterans through their agency, are capable of ensuring their reintegration into their war-ravaged societies. Sadly, these young former fighters’ self-agency and technologies of the self in defining their civilian trajectories have often been overshadowed by vaunted humanitarian aid and multilayered war-profiteering. This study is underpinned by interpretive constructivism, symbolic interactionism, social identity theory, sociometer theory and expectancy theory, and sheds light on how young veterans’ self-agency, instrumental coalitions, and decision-making processes, synergistically shifted the negative identities foisted on them as a result of their participation in the war.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Child-soldiers, Young war veterans, Liberian civil war, Transformation, Reintegration, Self-agency
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > Sociology and Industrial Sociology
Supervisors:Drewett, Michael
ID Code:3224
Deposited By: Philip Clarke
Deposited On:28 Aug 2012 12:21
Last Modified:28 Aug 2012 12:21
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