West-African Warscapes: Victimcy, Girlfriending, Soldiering: Tactic Agency in a Young Woman’s Social Navigation of the Liberian War Zone

Citation:

Utas, Mats. 2005. “West-African Warscapes: Victimcy, Girlfriending, Soldiering: Tactic Agency in a Young Woman’s Social Navigation of the Liberian War Zone.” Anthropological Quarterly 78 (2): 403–30.

Author: Mats Utas

Abstract:

This study aims to collapse the often gendered opposition of agency and victimhood that typically characterizes the analysis of women's coping strategies in war zones. The term victimcy is proposed to describe the agency of self-staging as victim of war and explore how it is deployed as one tactic-amongst others in one young Liberian woman's "social navigation" of war zones. Victimcy is thus revealed as a form of self-representation by which a certain form of tactic agency is effectively exercised under the trying, uncertain, and disempowering circumstances that confront actors in war scapes. However the story of Bintu also reveals the complexity of women's strategies, roles, and options as they confront conflicting challenges and opportunities in war zones. While in some circumstances women may take humanitarian aid, in others they may also take up arms. An ethnography of social tactics thus counters reductionist portrayals of women in war zones as merely the passive victims of conflict.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women Regions: Africa, West Africa

Year: 2005

© 2017 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.