Chapter

Children Who Soldier: Practices, Politics, and Perceptions

Mark A. Drumbl

in Reimagining Child Soldiers in International Law and Policy

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199592654
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738807 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199592654.003.0002
Children Who Soldier: Practices, Politics, and Perceptions

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This chapter begins by surveying the places where children currently are, and recently have been, associated with armed forces or armed groups. It then explores how international efforts to eradicate the practice of child soldiering overlap with broader normative understandings of modern childhood, incorporate the progress narrative of contemporary humanitarianism, and synergize with popularized perceptions of the changing nature of armed conflict. An epistemological concern (How do we know what we know about child soldiering?) lurks below the surface of these efforts. Competition has arisen among disciplines regarding the appropriate vocabularies, tools, and methodologies to conceptualize the sources and effects of child soldiering. Faultless passive victim imagery prioritizes some disciplines, neglects others, and politicizes certain lines of inquiry. As a result, the analytic lexicon and tool-kit of potential policy options each has narrowed.

Keywords: child soldiers; child soldiering; humanitarianism; armed conflict; faultless passive victim imagery

Chapter.  18602 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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