Constructing and Deconstructing Child Soldier Narratives

  • Helen Brocklehurst
  • Krijn PetersEmail author
Reference work entry
Part of the Geographies of Children and Young People book series (GCYP, volume 11)


This article looks at how research on child soldiers has been undertaken, especially during the 2000s which marked a time of significant humanitarian interest and intervention by NGOs especially in West Africa. It is argued here that despite inroads into children’s rights and new understandings about children’s agency, these research relationships illustrate a largely asymmetrical dynamic, in which short term gains by individual children diminish the return for the majority and in effect help further victimise or disempower children affected by armed conflict. Furthermore, ‘drive by’ interventions which source primary narratives of children often fail to take into account the complexity of their childhood and the manoeuvres that they may be performing in order to survive.


African Union (AU) Armed forces Autobiography Backwardness Benin home Child soldiers Actor-oriented approach Advocacy Central characters Demobilization Disembodiment of narratives In Africa Machel report Narratives of Phenomenon Plot lines Primary narratives Protecting children Reintegration of Representation Research opportunities Social networks Sound bites Victimcy Cold War International agenda Cold War proxy Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) Interim care centers (ICCs) New England Ville New wars North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) 


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Copyright information

© Crown Copyright 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political and Cultural StudiesSwansea UniversitySwanseaUK
  2. 2.College of Law, Humanities and Social Sciences, University of DerbySwanseaUK

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