Remnants of a Checkered Past: Female LTTE and Social Reintegration in Post-War Sri Lanka


Friedman, Rebekka. 2018. "Remnants of a Checkered Past: Female LTTE and Social Reintegration in Post-War Sri Lanka." International Studies Quarterly 62 (3): 632-42.

Author: Rebekka Friedman


I examine the ways in which female Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) experienced social reintegration—the processes through which cadres navigate their post-war identities and social relationships. Recent feminist work looks at women's participation in armed struggle as a transgression of traditional gendered norms and a form of political action. While this literature highlights female protagonism during war and female fighters’ capacity for political agency, I argue that it insufficiently examines female cadres’ personal, community-driven, and social motivations. Drawing on in-depth research carried out with female LTTE in northern Sri Lanka, I maintain that women joined the LTTE for a range of personal, social, political, and community-based reasons. Feminist scholars should further explore the personal side of agency. Going further, I argue that transformative reintegration needs to recognize and address the multifaceted reasons that motivate women to join armed groups. Recognizing the drivers of women's participation in armed groups is paramount both for female cadres’ transitions to civilian life and to facilitate positive social relations with their communities.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Feminisms, Gender, Gender Roles, Post-Conflict Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Sri Lanka

Year: 2018

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