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Masculinities and Child Soldiers in Post-Conflict Societies by Dina Haynes

Co-authored with Fionnuala Ni Aoláin and Naomi Cahn

A fairly substantial amount of literature has been generated over the years regarding the forms of masculinity that emerge in times of armed conflict and war (Goldstein 2001; Yuval- Davis 1997). This war-focused literature (which links to, among other things, masculinities studies) has drawn from broader theoretical research identifying an organic link between patriarchy, its contemporary manifestations, and various forms of masculinity as they arise within societies and institutions (Connell 2005; Cohen 2009). It builds on, and extends, the more general scholarship that has deepened our understanding of how masculinities are constructed and differentiated (Chodorow 1994; Connell 1987; Dowd, Levit, and McGinley this volume). While the war literature has made significant conceptual and practical use of the term “masculinity” to explore the impacts and effects of conflict, the concept has been less applied and understood to be relevant in post-conflict and transitional contexts, as societies attempt to move away from conflict. We argue that masculinities theory and its practical implications have been significantly under-utilized as a lens to explore and address the ending of hostilities in violent societies (Connell 2005; Kimmel 2005). This Chapter suggests that with some notable exceptions (Theidon 2009), little attention has been paid to masculinities in conflict-ending contexts. Moreover, throughout the negotiation, reconstruction, mediation, and intervention phases, masculinities studies concepts and theorization have been underutilized and under-applied to the range of post-conflict actions and actors. Bringing masculinities into view in post-conflict settings provides a more thorough means and framework for addressing the complex social and political problems faced by societies seeking to move beyond violence.

Masculinities and Child Soldiers in Post-Conflict Societies 

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