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Adolescents and WarHow Youth Deal with Political Violence$
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Brian K Barber

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195343359

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195343359.001.0001

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Youth Soldiering

Youth Soldiering

An Integrated Framework for Understanding Psychosocial Impact

(p.105) Chapter 5 Youth Soldiering
Adolescents and War

Michael Wessells

Kathleen Kostelny

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides a holistic understanding of the consequences of youth soldiering, recognizing the diversity within the category “child soldiers” and using young people's testimonies to show how youth understand their experiences and choices. Having put the definitions of “youth” and “child soldiers” in critical perspective, the chapter analyzes various pathways for a young person's entry into soldiering, recognizing the linkage between how one enters and the impact of soldiering itself. Additionally, it examines the varied roles and experiences of youth soldiers, connecting these with gender, the choices young people make while associated with an armed group and their evolving sense of meaning and identity. The chapter also examines the impact of youth soldiering by linking psychosocial wellbeing with health, cosmology, economics, and social roles and relations. It concludes with reflections on the implications of this holistic conceptualization for social reintegration and peacebuilding.

Keywords:   child soldiers, war, political violence, coping

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