Childhood Deployed: Remaking Child Soldiers in Sierra Leone

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9780814724965: Childhood Deployed: Remaking Child Soldiers in Sierra Leone
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Childhood Deployed examines the reintegration of former child soldiers in Sierra Leone. Based on eighteen months of participant-observer ethnographic fieldwork and ten years of follow-up research, the book argues that there is a fundamental disconnect between the Western idea of the child soldier and the individual lived experiences of the child soldiers of Sierra Leone. Susan Shepler contends that the reintegration of former child soldiers is a political process having to do with changing notions of childhood as one of the central structures of society.

For most Westerners the tragedy of the idea of “child soldier” centers around perceptions of lost and violated innocence. In contrast, Shepler finds that for most Sierra Leoneans, the problem is not lost innocence but the horror of being separated from one’s family and the resulting generational break in youth education. Further, Shepler argues that Sierra Leonean former child soldiers find themselves forced to strategically perform (or refuse to perform) as the“child soldier” Western human rights initiatives expect in order to most effectively gain access to the resources available for their social reintegration. The strategies don’t always work—in some cases, Shepler finds, Western human rights initiatives do more harm than good.

While this volume focuses on the well-known case of child soldiers in Sierra Leone, it speaks to the larger concerns of childhood studies with a detailed ethnography of people struggling over the situated meaning of the categories of childhood.It offers an example of the cultural politics of childhood in action, in which the very definition of childhood is at stake and an important site of political contestation.

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About the Author:

Susan Shepler is Associate Professor of International Peace and Conflict Resolution in the School of International Service at American University in Washington D.C.  

Review:

“Drawing on detailed ethnographic research, this compelling account of the complex forces shaping young people’s reintegration following the war in Sierra Leone is an essential read for anyone interested in the social impacts of globalization, the changing nature of childhood or the challenges of intervening in societies after conflict.”-Jo Boyden,University of Oxford

"Essential reading for everyone who cares about the reintegration of young people who have associated with armed forces or groups. With the eye of a skilled anthropologist, Susan Shepler illuminates the enormity of the gap between Western understandings of childhood, recruitment, and reintegration and the lived experiences, beliefs, and values of young people as they navigate the complexities of post-conflict Sierra Leone."-Mike Wessells,Columbia University

“The book is a wonderful, practical, policy oriented introduction to just how problematic it is to make childhood a universal, even during war and aftermath.”-Journal for Peace and Justice Studies

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Book Description New York University Press, United States, 2014. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. ChildhoodDeployed examinesthe reintegration of former child soldiers in Sierra Leone. Based on eighteenmonths of participant-observer ethnographic fieldwork and ten years offollow-up research, the book argues that there is a fundamental disconnectbetween the Western idea of the child soldier and the individual livedexperiences of the child soldiers of Sierra Leone. Susan Shepler contends thatthe reintegration of former child soldiers is a political process havingto do with changing notions of childhood as one of the central structures ofsociety.Formost Westerners the tragedy of the idea of "child soldier" centersaround perceptions of lost and violated innocence. In contrast, Shepler findsthat for most Sierra Leoneans, the problem is not lost innocence but the horrorof being separated from one's family and the resulting generational break inyouth education. Further, Shepler argues that Sierra Leonean former childsoldiers find themselves forced to strategically perform (or refuse to perform)as the"child soldier" Western human rights initiatives expect in order tomost effectively gain access to the resources available for their socialreintegration. The strategies don't always work-in some cases, Shepler finds,Western human rights initiatives do more harm than good.Whilethis volume focuses on the well-known case of child soldiers in Sierra Leone,it speaks to the larger concerns of childhood studies with a detailedethnography of people struggling over the situated meaning of the categories ofchildhood.It offers an example of thecultural politics of childhood in action, in which the very definition ofchildhood is at stake and an important site of political contestation. Seller Inventory # APC9780814724965

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Book Description New York University Press, United States, 2014. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. ChildhoodDeployed examinesthe reintegration of former child soldiers in Sierra Leone. Based on eighteenmonths of participant-observer ethnographic fieldwork and ten years offollow-up research, the book argues that there is a fundamental disconnectbetween the Western idea of the child soldier and the individual livedexperiences of the child soldiers of Sierra Leone. Susan Shepler contends thatthe reintegration of former child soldiers is a political process havingto do with changing notions of childhood as one of the central structures ofsociety.Formost Westerners the tragedy of the idea of "child soldier" centersaround perceptions of lost and violated innocence. In contrast, Shepler findsthat for most Sierra Leoneans, the problem is not lost innocence but the horrorof being separated from one's family and the resulting generational break inyouth education. Further, Shepler argues that Sierra Leonean former childsoldiers find themselves forced to strategically perform (or refuse to perform)as the"child soldier" Western human rights initiatives expect in order tomost effectively gain access to the resources available for their socialreintegration. The strategies don't always work-in some cases, Shepler finds,Western human rights initiatives do more harm than good.Whilethis volume focuses on the well-known case of child soldiers in Sierra Leone,it speaks to the larger concerns of childhood studies with a detailedethnography of people struggling over the situated meaning of the categories ofchildhood.It offers an example of thecultural politics of childhood in action, in which the very definition ofchildhood is at stake and an important site of political contestation. Seller Inventory # APC9780814724965

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Book Description NYU Press. Hardcover. Condition: New. 224 pages. Dimensions: 9.1in. x 6.1in. x 0.9in.Childhood Deployedexamines the reintegration of former child soldiers in Sierra Leone. Based on eighteen months of participant-observer ethnographic fieldwork and ten years of follow-up research, the book argues that there is a fundamental disconnect between the Western idea of the child soldier and the individual lived experiences of the child soldiers of Sierra Leone. Susan Shepler contends that the reintegration of former child soldiers is apoliticalprocess having to do with changing notions of childhood as one of the central structures of society. For most Westerners the tragedy of the idea of child soldier centers around perceptions of lost and violated innocence. In contrast, Shepler finds that for most Sierra Leoneans, the problem is not lost innocence but the horror of being separated from ones family and the resulting generational break in youth education. Further, Shepler argues that Sierra Leonean former child soldiers find themselves forced to strategically perform (or refuse to perform) as thechild soldier Western human rights initiatives expect in order to most effectively gain access to the resources available for their social reintegration. The strategies dont always workin some cases, Shepler finds, Western human rights initiatives do more harm than good. While this volume focuses on the well-known case of child soldiers in Sierra Leone, it speaks to the larger concerns of childhood studies with a detailed ethnography of people struggling over the situated meaning of the categories of childhood. It offers an example of the cultural politics of childhood in action, in which the very definition of childhood is at stake and an important site of political contestation. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Hardcover. Seller Inventory # 9780814724965

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