Compromise Without Virtue: Male Child Soldier Reintegration in Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone’s post-conflict settlement is viewed internationally as a peacebuilding success story and a model of post-conflict compromise, yet there has been little analysis of how ‘peace’ is being maintained at the societal level, and how sustainable this peace may be. Drawing on the book’s definition of compromise and data collected during empirical research in 2011 and 2012, this chapter will analyse the social practice of compromise in Sierra Leone’s post-conflict settlement by examining the levels of social acceptance (and stigmatisation) of male former child soldiers in Sierra Leone ten years after the war. The chapter addresses the implications for former child soldiers of international peacebuilding’s presentation of child ex-combatants as victims, and explores how former child soldiers in Sierra Leone practise civility and tolerance in the public sphere through the management of their stigma. It furthermore contends that, whilst the public rituals of tolerance and civility outlined in the sociology of compromise are being performed in Sierra Leone, they are built on an unchallenged moral injustice which has produced negative outcomes for former child soldiers (and other young Sierra Leoneans), and threatens the long-term stability of peace in the country, thus constituting a compromise without virtue.
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