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Liberia

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

Citation:

Utas, Mats. 2005. “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 warscapes. However the story of Bintu also reveals the complexity of women's strategies, roles, and options as they front 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, Combatants, Gender, Women, Humanitarian Assistance, Military Forces & Armed Groups Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Liberia

Year: 2005

Service, Sex, and Security: Gendered Peacekeeping Economies in Liberia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Citation:

Jennings, Kathleen M. 2014. “Service, Sex, and Security: Gendered Peacekeeping Economies in Liberia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.” Security Dialogue 45 (4): 313-30. doi:10.1177/0967010614537330.

Author: Kathleen M. Jennings

Abstract:

This article uses the concept of the peacekeeping economy to examine how peacekeepers – as individuals – and peacekeeping – as a complex of institutions, policy and practice – interact with, and inevitably shape, the societies in which they operate. It focuses on how peacekeeping economies are gendered, and the implications of this gendering. The article first examines three types of work characteristic of the peacekeeping economies in Liberia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo – namely domestic service, sex work, and private security. The United Nation’s (UN’s) institutional responses to these sectors demonstrates the persistence of ‘traditional’ gendered ideologies in peacekeeping, in which the ‘private’, feminized sphere of the home – encompassing peacekeepers’ domestic and sexual arrangements – is marginalized, while the masculinized realm of security is prioritized and closely regulated. Furthermore, factoring in peacekeepers’ individual responses to service, sex, and security reveals a counter-narrative of the peacekeeper-as-vulnerable. This counter-narrative helps obscure the potential for exploitation of locals by peacekeepers. Yet it also upsets the subject position of both the peacekeeper and ‘the local’ in an unexpected manner, ultimately undermining the notion of the (masculine) UN protector. Such an understanding complicates popular notions of how gender ‘works’ in peacekeeping sites, and enables insights into the ramifications of peacekeeping’s (often) self-imposed limitations.

Topics: Economies, Gender, Men, Masculinity/ies, International Organizations, Peacekeeping, Security, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Regions: Africa, Central Africa, West Africa Countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia

Year: 2014

Halfway to Nowhere: Liberian Former Child Soldiers in a Ghanaian Refugee Camp

Citation:

Woodward, Lucinda, and Peter Galvin. 2009. “Halfway to Nowhere: Liberian Former Child Soldiers in a Ghanaian Refugee Camp.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 99 (5): 1003–11.

Authors: Lucinda Woodward, Peter Galvin

Abstract:

This study utilizes Kunz's kinetic model of refugee displacement to interpret the placelessness experienced by Liberian former child soldiers in the Buduburam refugee camp in Ghana. From August to December 2007, a clinical psychologist and a geographer interviewed ten Liberian former child soldiers to determine spatial and social barriers to successful resettlement and the prospects for overcoming these obstacles. Based on the interviews, five areas of intervention were suggested: (1) geographic desegregation and relocation, (2) education and employment, (3) psychological counseling, (4) societal acceptance and reintegration, and (5) security and protection.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Child Soldiers, Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Refugee/IDP Camps, Education, Gender, Girls, Boys, Livelihoods, Post-Conflict, Security Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana, Liberia

Year: 2009

Military Patrimonialism and Child Soldier Clientalism in the Liberian and Sierra Leonean Civil Wars

Citation:

Murphy, William P. 2003. “Military Patrimonialism and Child Soldier Clientalism in the Liberian and Sierra Leonean Civil Wars.” African Studies Review 46 (2): 61-87.

Author: William P. Murphy

Abstract:

This article uses a Weberian model of patrimonialism to analyze clientalist and "staff" roles of child soldiers in the military regimes of the civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone. It thereby examines institutional aspects of child soldier identity and behavior not addressed in other standard models of child soldiers as coerced victims, revolutionary idealists, or delinquent opportunists. It shifts analytical attention from nation-state patrimonialism to the patrimonial dimensions of rebel regimes. It locates child soldiers within a social organization of domination and reciprocity based on violence structured through patronage ties with military commanders. It identifies child soldier "staff" functions within the administration of a patrimonial regime. A Weberian focus on the institutionalization and strategies of domination and dependency provides a corrective to views that exoticize child soldiers, decontextualize their behavior, or essentialize their "youth" as an explanatory principle.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Combatants, Child Soldiers, Gender, Girls, Boys, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Violence Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Liberia, Sierra Leone

Year: 2003

Our Mothers Have Spoken: Synthesizing Old and New Forms of Women’s Political Authority in Liberia

Citation:

Moran, Mary. 2012. “Our Mothers Have Spoken: Synthesizing Old and New Forms of Women’s Political Authority in Liberia.” Journal of International Women’s Studies 13 (4): 51–66.

Author: Mary Moran

Abstract:

This paper argues that the 2005 election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to the Liberian presidency is best understood in the historical and cultural context of pre-war authority-bearing positions available to women, rather than as an outcome of the Liberian civil war itself. Against a literature that tends to view “traditional” African societies as hostile to both democracy and women’s rights, I contend that gender, conflict, and democracy are inter-twined in more complex relationships. Post-conflict societies such as Liberia are interesting not only as sites of intervention by international organizations seeking to capitalize on the “window of opportunity” available to re-make gender relations, but as places where truly innovative discourses of women’s political participation are likely to emerge.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Democracy / Democratization, Gender, Women, Governance, Elections, International Organizations, Political Participation, Post-Conflict, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Liberia

Year: 2012

Beyond Survival: Militarism, Equity and Women’s Security

Citation:

Mama, Amina. 2014. “Beyond Survival: Militarism, Equity and Women’s Security.” In Development and Equity: An Interdisciplinary Exploration by Ten Scholars from Africa, Asia and Latin America, edited by Dick Foeken, Ton Dietz, Leo De Haan, and Linda Johnson, 29-46. Leiden: Koninklijke Brill NV.

Author: Amina Mama

Abstract:

This paper explores the tension between the prospects for equitable development and the global investments in militarism. It argues that militarism – a highly gendered economic, political and cultural phenomenon – not only sustains underdevelopment in poorer nations, but also poses a key obstacle to gender equity in militarized societies more generally. Evidence from current research on the Nigerian, Liberian and Sierra Leonean civil wars illustrates women’s increased participation in more recent conflicts, their improvised livelihood strategies and their contribution in peace activism. In the era of neoliberal globalization, postcolonial militarism continues to undermine the prospects for democratization, social justice and genuine security, especially for women. An effective strategy for addressing the dual perils of militarism and gender inequality requires strengthening the work of the women’s movements, to engage in more effective evidence-based advocacy that highlights and challenges the gendered political, economic and cultural foundations of militarism and insecurity.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Combatants, Female Combatants, Economies, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Gender Equity, Livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism, Political Participation Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone

Year: 2014

Dueling Incentives: Sexual Violence in Liberia and the Politics of Human Rights Advocacy

Citation:

Cohen, Dara Kay, and Amelia Hoover Green. 2012. “Dueling Incentives: Sexual Violence in Liberia and the Politics of Human Rights Advocacy.” Journal of Peace Research 49 (3): 445–58.

Authors: Dara Kay Cohen , Amelia Hoover Green

Abstract:

Transnational advocacy organizations are influential actors in the international politics of human rights. While political scientists have described several methods these groups use – particularly a set of strategies termed 'information polities' – scholars have yet to consider the effects of these tactics beyond their immediate impact on public awareness, policy agendas or the behavior of state actors. This article investigates the information politics surrounding sexual violence during Liberia's civil war. We show that two frequently-cited 'facts' about rape in Liberia are inaccurate, and consider how this conventional wisdom gained acceptance. Drawing on the Liberian case and findings from sociology and economics, we develop a theoretical framework that treats inaccurate claims as an effect of 'dueling incentives' – the conflict between advocacy organizations' needs for short-term drama and long-term credibility. From this theoretical framework, we generate hypotheses regarding the effects of information politics on (1) short-term changes in funding for human rights advocacy organizations, (2) short-term changes in human rights outcomes, (3) the institutional health of humanitarian and human rights organizations, and (4) long-run outcomes for the ostensible beneficiaries of such organizations. We conclude by outlining a research agenda in this area, emphasizing the importance of empirical research on information politics in the human rights realm, and particularly its effects on the lives of aid recipients.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Humanitarian Assistance, International Organizations, Rights, Human Rights, Sexual Violence Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Liberia

Year: 2012

'Doing Gender’ After the War: Dealing with Gender Mainstreaming and Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in UN Peace Support Operations in Liberia and Sierra Leone

Citation:

Nduka-Agwu, Adibeli. 2009. “‘Doing Gender’ After the War: Dealing with Gender Mainstreaming and Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in UN Peace Support Operations in Liberia and Sierra Leone.” Civil Wars 11 (2): 179–99. doi:10.1080/13698240802631087.

Author: Adibeli Nduka-Agwu

Topics: Gender, Gender Mainstreaming, Peacekeeping, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Liberia, Sierra Leone

Year: 2009

Gender and Security in Post-Conflict Peace-Building: A Pilot Study of the Concept of Security in Post-Conflict Liberia

Citation:

Medie, Peace. 2009. “Gender and Security in Post-Conflict Peace-Building: A Pilot Study of the Concept of Security in Post-Conflict Liberia.” Paper presented at the International Studies Association Annual Convention, New York, February 15.

Author: Peace Medie

Abstract:

In most post-conflict states, threats to the security of individuals remain high and women are especially vulnerable. Although efforts have been made to understand post-conflict (in)security as it relates to gender, the experiences of women have not been fully studied. This study attempts to fill this gap by asking the questions: what constitutes security for women in Liberia and what are the threats to their security. Interviews conducted reveal that rape and sexual violence committed during armed robberies are the most pressing threats to women’s security. The findings also underscore economic insecurity as a principal concern of Liberian women and a strong determinant of how they are affected by Gender-Based Violence (GBV). The findings also reveal that gender is the identity that most strongly determines how women experience (in)security. This paper argues that there is the need to further probe the relationship between women’s identities and their experience of post-conflict (in)security. There is also the need to examine the relationship between armed robbery and rape, to determine if the threats that they pose to women should be tackled within an economic or a women’s-rights lens. Finally, this study recommends a strengthening and gendering of public safety infrastructures, and the economic empowerment of women in post-conflict Liberia.

Topics: Economies, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Rights, Women's Rights, Security, Human Security, Security Sector Reform, Sexual Violence, Rape Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Liberia

Year: 2009

UNSCR 1325 Implementation in Liberia: Dilemmas and Challenges

Citation:

Njoki Wamai, Emma. 2010. “UNSCR 1325 Implementation in Liberia: Dilemmas and Challenges.” In Women, Peace and Security: Translating Policy into Practice, edited by Funmi Olonisakin, Karen Barnes, and Eka Ikpe, 52-65. New York: Routledge.

Author: Emma Njoki Wamai

Topics: Gender, Women, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325 Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Liberia

Year: 2010

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