Child Soldiers

Alcinda Honwana

in International Perspectives on Youth Conflict and Development

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780195178425
Published online April 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199958528 | DOI:
Child Soldiers

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This chapter analyzes specific social and cultural notions of health, mental health, and healing as they apply, in particular, to child soldiers' reintegration into society in Mozambique and Angola. It presents a number of case studies from Mozambique and Angola, and then considers why such understandings and practices are fundamental to the wellbeing of these populations. This chapter is organized in three main sections: the first examines the issue of culture and mental health by looking at Western concepts of mental health as cultural constructions; the second section deals with local concepts of heath, illness, and healing in Mozambique and Angola, and highlights the role of the spirits of the dead in processes of causation and healing of ill health; and the third section considers some of the therapeutic strategies employed by local populations in Mozambique and Angola to deal with mental distress caused by war. Community rituals to appease the spirits as well as cleansing rituals to purify polluted individuals are analyzed in this section.

Keywords: youth conflict; youth violence; child soldiers; reintegration; mental health

Chapter.  10057 words. 

Subjects: Developmental Psychology

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