Reintegrating Veterans in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia: Citizenship and Gender Effects


Berdak, Oliwia. 2015. “Reintegrating Veterans in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia: Citizenship and Gender Effects.” Women’s Studies International Forum 49 (March): 48–56. doi:10.1016/j.wsif.2014.07.001.


Author: Oliwia Berdak


This article explores the ways in which the 1991–1995 Yugoslav Wars and the policies of disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) have affected gender relations and citizenship in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. DDR policies, and particularly the reintegration component, have come with a number of ‘side effects’. Rather than being a short-term solution to make combatants put down their weapons and become ‘normal’ citizens, they have valorised the citizen–soldier and created powerful identities and interest groups. Because this war was masculinised in both discourse and practice, this has resulted in highly gendered social citizenship, with the bulk of state resources now claimed by male war veterans. This study points to the need for greater contextualisation of any post-conflict policies. In the context of state- and nation-building, DDR policies are likely to become a tool of nationalist politics, entrenching hierarchical citizenship and hampering critical reflection about the conflict and militarised masculinity.


Topics: Citizenship, Combatants, DDR, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Post-Conflict Regions: Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia

Year: 2015

Militarised Minds: The Lives of Ex-Combatants in South Africa


Maringira, Godfrey. 2015. “Militarised Minds: The Lives of Ex-Combatants in South Africa.” Sociology 49 (1): 72–87. 

Author: Godfrey Maringira


This article focuses on how ex-combatants in South Africa remain militarised. Identities which were forged through resistance continue to be reproduced in different ways in post-conflict society. Military identity is a source of status and recognition in the everyday lives of ex-combatants, either as 'defenders of the community' or for individual gain. While some may argue that there is no such thing as military identity, the group of ex-combatants interviewed remained attached to such an identity and saw themselves as having a particular role in their communities. While studies, particularly in Africa, present ex-combatants as if they can be easily transformed into civilian life, this article considers the difficulties of such a process. The argument is that it is a complex matter to demilitarise ex-combatant minds in a highly unequal and militarised community. Sixteen life history interviews were collected, 11 with APLA ex combatants and five with Zimbabwean army deserters.

Keywords: demilitarization, deserters, ex-combatants, military identity, South Africa, Zimbabwe

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, DDR, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender Roles, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Post-Conflict Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2015

Security Sector Reform, Gender and Local Narratives in Burundi


Wilén, Nina. “Security Sector Reform, Gender and Local Narratives in Burundi.” Conflict, Security & Development 14, no. 3 (May 27, 2014): 331–54. doi:10.1080/14678802.2014.923152.

Author: Nina Wilén


This paper maps the difficulties with operationalising the gender discourse described in the peace accord and post-conflict documents, which guide Burundi's peace-building process, through local women's narratives from the security forces. The author claims that due to limited international and local investment, the local women involved in the security forces initiate small practical changes by referring to their vision of femininity, while theoretically legitimising these demands by linking them to the international human rights discourse in order to survive in an overwhelmingly masculine arena. International organisations and donors’ focus on traditionally feminine and softer areas, such as reconciliation and reintegration programmes, together with local elites’ tendency to view gender as an ‘add-on’ contribute to this development.

Topics: Armed Conflict, DDR, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Peacebuilding, Security Sector Reform Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa Countries: Burundi

Year: 2014

From Soldiers to Citizens, or Soldiers to Seamstresses: Reintegrating Girl and Women Soldiers in Sierra Leone


MacKenzie, Megan H. 2007. “From Soldiers to Citizens, or Soldiers to Seamstresses: Reintegrating Girl and Women Soldiers in Sierra Leone.” In . Chicago, IL. http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p179242_index.html.


Author: Megan H MacKenzie


Maintaining security in a post-conflict country is often seen to be dependant on peace-building and reconstruction. One can hardly escape terms such as building sustainable peace and post-conflict construction. The disarmament, demobilization, reintegration, and rehabilitation, or DDR-R process for former combatants is being touted as an ideal model for ensuring that post-conflict societies return to peace. These four simple steps to lasting security have been used as a model in war torn countries like Liberia, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Angola. The logic is that these steps aid in restoring countries to more secure, stable times. More specifically, this model streamlines former combatants from soldiers to citizens. Given that the task of this process is to encourage combatants to shed their roles as fighters and to return to their former pre-war roles, it seems intuitive that the way that women and girls go through this process is of particular interest. In fact, despite the ascendancy of this DDR-R model, there has been little critical analysis of the implications of this process for women in war-torn countries. Using Sierra Leone as a case study, I explore how women and girls have been included and treated at each phase of this process. I look specifically at the tendency of organizations and agencies operating DDR-R programs to promote a return of women and girls to their pre-war roles and the tension that women and girls feel between the power they gained as combatants and the social pressure to reintegrate. I also examine the implications, for women and girls, of international and national organizations commitment to equating security with the return to pre-war society rather than rethinking relations of power. I include testimonies from 50 former girl soldiers who talk about their roles during the conflict and their hopes for themselves today.

Keywords: women, conflict, development, security, post-conflict, reintegration

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, "New Wars", Combatants, Child Soldiers, Female Combatants, DDR, Gender, Women, Girls, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Post-Conflict, Security, Human Security Regions: Africa Countries: Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone

Year: 2007

Women, Girls, and Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR)


Mazurana, Dyan, and Linda Eckerbom Cole. 2012. “Women, Girls, and Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR).” In Women and Wars, edited by Carol Cohn, 194-214. Malden, MA: Polity Press. 

Authors: Dyan Mazurana, Linda Eckerbom Cole

Topics: Armed Conflict, DDR, Gender, Girls, Women, Peace Processes

Year: 2012

On the Frontlines: Gender, War, and the Post-Conflict Process


Ní Aoláin, Fionnuala, Dina Francesca Haynes and Naomi Cahn. 2011. On the Frontlines: Gender, War, and the Post-Conflict Process. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Authors: Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Dina Francesca Haynes, Naomi Cahn


Gender oppression has been a feature of war and conflict throughout human history, yet until fairly recently, little attention was devoted to addressing the consequences of violence and discrimination experienced by women in post-conflict states. Thankfully, that is changing. Today, in a variety of post-conflict settings--the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Colombia, Northern Ireland --international advocates for women's rights have focused bringing issues of sexual violence, discrimination and exclusion into peace-making processes. 
In On the Frontlines, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Dina Francesca Haynes, and Naomi Cahn consider such policies in a range of cases and assess the extent to which they have had success in improving women's lives. They argue that there has been too little success, and that this is in part a product of a focus on schematic policies like straightforward political incorporation rather than a broader and deeper attempt to alter the cultures and societies that are at the root of much of the violence and exclusions experienced by women. They contend that this broader approach would not just benefit women, however. Gender mainstreaming and increased gender equality has a direct correlation with state stability and functions to preclude further conflict. If we are to have any success in stabilizing failing states, gender needs to move to fore of our efforts. With this in mind, they examine the efforts of transnational organizations, states and civil society in multiple jurisdictions to place gender at the forefront of all post-conflict processes. They offer concrete analysis and practical solutions to ensuring gender centrality in all aspects of peace making and peace enforcement. (Summary from Oxford University Press) 

Topics: Armed Conflict, DDR, Democracy / Democratization, Development, Gender, Women, Men, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Governance, Post-Conflict Governance, Peacekeeping, Post-Conflict, Rights, Security Sector Reform, Sexual Violence

Year: 2011

Addressing Sexual Violence in Internationally Mediated Peace Negotiations


Jenkins, Robert, and Anne Marie Goetz. 2010. "Addressing Sexual Violence in Internationally Mediated Peace Negotiations." International Peacekeeping 17 (2): 261–77.

Authors: Robert Jenkins , Anne Marie Goetz


Negotiated peace agreements rarely address the legacy of wartime sexual violence committed by state and non-state armed actors, even in cases where mass rape has been a prominent feature of the conflict. This article examines why this has been the case. It assesses the implications of UN Security Council resolution 1820 (June 2008), which calls for internationally mediated peace talks to address conflict-related sexual violence; advances reasons why doing so may contribute to more durable peace; and outlines where specific textual references to sexual violence in peace agreements could enhance the well-being of survivors and reduce the chances of brutal and widespread sexual violence persisting in the post-conflict period. The article focuses on five types (or elements) of peace agreement: (1) early-stage agreements covering humanitarian access and confidence-building measures; (2) ceasefires and ceasefire monitoring; (3) arrangements for demobilization, disarmament and reintegration (DDR) and longer-term security sector reform (SSR); (4) post-conflict justice institutions; and (5) provisions relating to reparations for victims of serious human rights abuses.


Topics: DDR, Economies, Gender, Women, Girls, Gender Roles, Gender-Based Violence, International Human Rights, Justice, Crimes against Humanity, International Tribunals & Special Courts, Reparations, Transitional Justice, War Crimes, Peacekeeping, Post-Conflict, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325, UNSCR 1820, Security Sector Reform, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse

Year: 2010

Mujeres no contadas: Proceso de desmovilización y retorno a la vida civil de mujeres excombatientes en Colombia 1990-2003


Londoño Fernández, Luz María and Yoana Fernanda Nieto Valdivieso. 2006. Mujeres no contadas: Proceso de desmovilización y retorno a la vida civil de mujeres excombatientes en Colombia 1990-2003. Medellín: La Carreta Editores. 

Authors: Luz María Londoño Fernández, Yoana Fernanda Nieto Valdivieso

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Civil Society, Combatants, Female Combatants, DDR, Gender, Women, Men, Girls, Masculinity/ies, Gender Roles, Gender Analysis, Femininity/ies, Gendered Discourses, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-State Armed Groups, Political Participation, Violence Regions: Americas, Central America, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2006


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