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Childhood Deployed

Remaking Child Soldiers in Sierra Leone

Susan Shepler

Publication Year: 2014

Published by: NYU Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vi

List of Figures and Tables

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pp. vii-viii

List of Acronyms

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

I taught mathematics in a rural secondary school in northern Sierra Leone as a Peace Corps Volunteer from 1987 to 1989, several years before the brutal civil war began. When I returned to Sierra Leone ten years later in October of 1999, my first task was to try to understand the war. ...

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pp. xiii-xiv

With so many debts incurred, I hardly know where to begin. Sincere appreciation is due to so many. ...

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pp. 1-20

Jerihun was the site of an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp between Bo and Kenema in the Eastern Province of Sierra Leone. When I arrived there in 2001, the camp was fairly new, having only been in operation for about six months. It was designed as a transit camp for Sierra Leoneans returning from refugee camps in Guinea, ...

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1. Youth in Sierra Leone

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pp. 21-54

When we in the West think about child soldiers, we tend to do so with our Western notions of what childhood is and should be.1 We think we know what “child” means (under eighteen years of age, innocent, moving through developmental stages, at school, and not at work) and we think we know what “soldier” means ...

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2. Child Protection Deployed

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pp. 55-80

One Sunday morning in late March 2000, I took the government bus to Bo, the capital of Sierra Leone’s Southern Province, and found someone to give me directions to the interim care center (ICC) for former child soldiers. I knew the center was cosponsored by Christian Brothers (a local NGO) ...

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3. Learning “Child Soldier” across Contexts

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pp. 81-100

The “Auto Biography” below was given to me by a worker at Children Associated with War (CAW), a Sierra Leonean child protection NGO based in Freetown and active in, among other places, my field site Pujehun. He wanted to show me some of the good work his NGO was doing with ex-combatants. ...

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4. Informal Reintegrators, Communities, and NGOs

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pp. 101-130

Rogbom is a small Temne village on the road to Freetown in Koya chiefdom. Anyone entering or leaving Freetown must travel along the main highway near Rogbom. Freetown was strongly defended by the army and by international forces. Therefore, the people of Rogbom were kept out of the war except during times when Freetown was attacked. ...

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5. Distinctions in the Population of “Child Soldiers”: RUF and CDF, Boys and Girls

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pp. 131-156

According to the Western definition, RUF and CDF children, boys and girls, were all child soldiers: they were all exposed to the trauma of war. Yet in postwar practice they are positioned and treated quite differently by their communities and by NGOs. ...

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pp. 157-166

This book has been about children deployed in battle, but more centrally it has been about the deployment of the global ideals and modern techniques of childhood. Throughout, I have focused on differentiation in the population of child soldiers in Sierra Leone. ...


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pp. 167-184


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pp. 185-202


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pp. 203-208

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About the Author

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pp. 209

Susan Shepler is Associate Professor of International Peace and Conflict Resolution in the School of International Service at American University in Washington, DC. She teaches courses on youth and conflict in Africa. ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780814760192
E-ISBN-10: 0814760198
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814724965
Print-ISBN-10: 0814724965

Publication Year: 2014

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Children and war -- Sierra Leone.
  • Sierra Leone -- History -- Civil War, 1991-2002.
  • Child soldiers -- Sierra Leone.
  • Child soldiers -- Sierra Leone -- Reintegration.
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