Children and Youth on the Front Lines: Ethnography, Armed Conflict, and Displacement

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War leads not just to widespread death but also to extensive displacement, overwhelming fear, and economic devastation. It weakens social ties, threatens household survival and undermines the family's capacity to care for its most vulnerable members. Every year it kills and maims countless numbers of young people, undermines thousands of others psychologically and deprives many of the economic, educational, health and social opportunities which most of us consider essential for children's effective growth and well being.

Based on detailed ethnographic description and on young people's own accounts, this volume provides insights into children's experiences as both survivors and perpetrators of violence. It focuses on girls who have been exposed to sexual exploitation and abuse, children who head households or are separated from their families, displaced children and young former combatants who are attempting to adjust to their changed circumstances following the cessation of conflict. In this sense, the volume bears witness to the grim effects of warfare and displacement on the young.

Nevertheless, despite the abundant evidence of suffering, it maintains that children are not the passive victims of conflict but engage actively with the conditions of war, an outlook that challenges orthodox research perspectives that rely heavily on medicalized notions of 'victim' and 'trauma.'

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781571818836
  • Publisher: Berghahn Books, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/15/2004
  • Series: Studies in Forced Migration
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Jo Boyden is a senior research officer at the Refugee Studies Centre, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.

Joanna de Berry trained in anthropology at Cambridge University and the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Table of Contents

1 Separated children : care and support in context 3
2 Cultural disruption and the care of infants in post-war Mozambique 23
3 The sexual vulnerability of adolescent girls during Civil War in Teso, Uganda 45
4 A neglected perspective : adolescent girls' experiences of the Kosovo conflict of 1999 63
5 The use of patriarchal imagery in the Civil War in Mozambique and its implications for the reintegration of child soldiers 87
6 Girls with guns : narrating the experience of war of FRELIMO's 'female detachment' 105
7 Children's impunity and justice : some dilemmas from Northern Uganda 130
8 Children in the grey spaces between war and peace : the uncertain truth of memory acts 145
9 Beyond struggle and aid : children's identities in a Palestinian Refugee Camp in Jordan 167
10 Researching young people's experiences of war : participatory methods and the trauma discourse in Angola 189
11 Fluid research fields : studying excombatant youth in the aftermath of the Liberian Civil War 209
12 Anthropology under fire : ethics, researchers and children in war 237
13 'Where wings take dream' : on children in the work of war and the war of work 262
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