Youth in Conflict and Peacebuilding

Part of the series Rethinking Political Violence Series pp 13-37

Processes of Mobilization

  • Alpaslan ÖzerdemAffiliated withCoventry University
  • , Sukanya PodderAffiliated withCentre for International Security and Resilience (CISR), Cranfield University


Recent scholarship on youth participation in conflict can be categorized into five broad types. First, are studies that focus on the different processes of youth recruitment into conflict and the role of international humanitarian law, ethics, globalization and the media in defining this practice (Rosen, 2007; Hoffman, 2010; Lee-Koo, 2011). The second set of studies focus on the different processes through which youth are recruitment with a focus on displacement, coercion and socio-cultural explanations (Shepler, 2004; Hart, 2008a; 2008b; Beber and Blattman, 2013; Boyden and Berry, 2005; Peters, Richards and Vlassenroot, 2003). This literature does not distinguish between mobilization and recruitment as distinct sets of processes involving different types of actors, motivations and compulsions except a few which look more specifically at rebel group recruitment (Gates and Andvig, 2006). Third, there are a number of recent studies that focus on the ‘agents of mobilization’ and thereby emphasize the role of structural variables including patterns of land ownership, employment and labour relations in explaining youth participation in conflict tend to underplay the role of youth’s agency in conflict participation (Richards, 2005; Munive, 2010; Peters and Richards, 2011; Themnér, 2013; Carter, Maher and Neumann, 2014). Fourth, there are studies that focus more specifically on the agency of youth, with an emphasis on the different factors that encourage their voluntary enlistment in various armed groups (Shepler, 2004; Utas, 2005; Denov and Maclure, 2006; Denov, 2010; 2011).