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Women in WarThe Micro-processes of Mobilization in El Salvador$
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Jocelyn Viterna

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199843633

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199843633.001.0001

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Demobilization, Remobilization, and Retrenchment

Demobilization, Remobilization, and Retrenchment

(p.172) 8 Demobilization, Remobilization, and Retrenchment
Women in War

Jocelyn Viterna

Oxford University Press

What happened to women guerrillas after the Peace Accords ended the civil war in El Salvador? Some capitalized on their wartime activism to break gender barriers, transform their own lives, and continue their political activism. Others eschewed further activism and rejected the notion of women’s equality. This chapter demonstrates how the network locations that women occupied during the war intersected with the timing and place of their demobilization to influence women’s post-war opportunities. Those most likely to capitalize on their wartime experiences were women who had either been stationed near FMLN commanders or near international civil society workers during the war. Surprisingly, those who “bent gender” the most during the war—those who took on the most bellicose guerrilla roles—were among the least likely to experience gendered identity transformations or political gains after the war. Scholars have already demonstrated how movement activism can powerfully transform individual activists’ identities, but only a micro-level theory of mobilization provides tools to understand why some identities may transform more (or differently) than others, or why even similar identity changes may result in different post-movement outcomes.

Keywords:   Peace Accords, Demobilization, Social movement outcomes, El Salvador, Women, Guerrillas, FMLN, Gender, Identity, Micro-level mobilization

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