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Themnér, Anders, DocentORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0003-1884-8109
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Publications (10 of 34) Show all publications
Bangura, I., Lonergan, K. & Themnér, A. (2023). Patrimonial Truth-Telling: Why Truth Commissions Leave Victim and Ex-Combatant Participants Aggrieved. Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, 1-23
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Patrimonial Truth-Telling: Why Truth Commissions Leave Victim and Ex-Combatant Participants Aggrieved
2023 (English)In: Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, ISSN 1750-2977, E-ISSN 1750-2985, p. 1-23Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

There is a growing awareness that truth commissions (TCs) often leave victim and ex-combatant participants aggrieved. This is problematic since it can undermine support for peace processes. When attempting to explain such shortcomings, previous research has not paid sufficient attention to the patrimonial sources of TC-participants’ frustration. We argue that such forms of disenchantment are largely caused by internationalised TCs’ patrimonial mode of working, utilising tactics such as motorcades as manifestations of power and brokers to mobilise witnesses. To highlight the relevance of our argument, we use the work of the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission as an example. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2023
Keywords
Truth commissions, reconciliation, civil wars, peacebuilding, Sierra Leone
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Peace and Conflict Research
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-511231 (URN)10.1080/17502977.2023.2187135 (DOI)000952916600001 ()
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2016-05812
Available from: 2023-09-11 Created: 2023-09-11 Last updated: 2023-09-13
Themnér, A. (2022). A Response to Ilmari Käihkö's "On Brokers, Commodification of Information and Liberian Former Combatants" [Letter to the editor]. Civil Wars, 24(4), 535-546
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A Response to Ilmari Käihkö's "On Brokers, Commodification of Information and Liberian Former Combatants"
2022 (English)In: Civil Wars, ISSN 1369-8249, E-ISSN 1743-968X, Vol. 24, no 4, p. 535-546Article in journal, Letter (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

In a recent article in Civil Wars, Ilmari Käihkö criticizes my research approach of collaborating with ex-commanders to study their own ex-command structures. While I welcome a discussion concerning the pros and cons of employing this approach, it must be based on a correct representation of the methods that I have used. Kaihko does not do this in his article, and he makes a number of false statements about my research. My ambition with this paper is to set the record straight and pave the way for a more productive discussion about how to best study ex-command structures.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2022
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-496806 (URN)10.1080/13698249.2022.2075247 (DOI)000802941800001 ()
Note

Title in Web of Science: A Response to Ilmari Kaihko's "On Brokers, Commodification of Information and Liberian Former Combatants"

Available from: 2023-02-23 Created: 2023-02-23 Last updated: 2023-08-23Bibliographically approved
Themnér, A. (2022). On Brokers, Biases and Leaving the Veranda: Working with Research Brokers in Political Science Based Field Research. Civil Wars, 24(1), 117-139
Open this publication in new window or tab >>On Brokers, Biases and Leaving the Veranda: Working with Research Brokers in Political Science Based Field Research
2022 (English)In: Civil Wars, ISSN 1369-8249, E-ISSN 1743-968X, Vol. 24, no 1, p. 117-139Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this paper I critically discuss the pros and cons of working with research brokers from a political science perspective. I do this by sharing my experiences of collaborating with two types of local "fixers" - cultural and communal brokers. I argue that even if similar approaches risk introducing a number of broker-induced biases, countermeasures can be taken to mitigate their effect: e.g. continuous triangulation, interviewing "sleepers" and asking in-depth questions to exclude interviewees who misrepresent themselves. However, researchers must be aware that working with multiple brokers can also generate methodological and ethical challenges that need to be taken into consideration.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2022
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-483630 (URN)10.1080/13698249.2022.2031648 (DOI)000757204500001 ()
Funder
Sida - Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
Available from: 2022-09-01 Created: 2022-09-01 Last updated: 2022-09-01Bibliographically approved
Angerbrandt, H. & Themnér, A. (2021). Above Politics?: Ex-Military Leaders in Nigerian Electoral Politics. Democratization, 28(4), 782-800
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Above Politics?: Ex-Military Leaders in Nigerian Electoral Politics
2021 (English)In: Democratization, ISSN 1351-0347, E-ISSN 1743-890X, Vol. 28, no 4, p. 782-800Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In countries transitioning from military to democratic rule, authoritarian legacies often continue to influence politics. Whereas previous research has focused on the institutional causes of such deficiencies, there is a lack of studies examining the role ex-military leaders who re-emerge as civilian presidents have in sustaining authoritarian tendencies. In this article, we begin to fill this lacuna by investigating the question: how and under which conditions do ex-military leaders' political identity constructions affect their tendency to place themselves above politics (i.e. expressing the attitude and behaviour of being superior to democratic rules)? The literature on neo-patrimonialism and post-civil war politics points to the importance of the political identities of ex-militaries, and we propose a theory that highlights the role identity construction plays in shaping elites’ decision-making processes. Based on a comparison of two Nigerian presidents, Olusegun Obasanjo and Muhammadu Buhari, we find that ex-generals' tendency to engage in politics from above is largely a function of to what extent they have diversified their political identities beyond their role as “militaries”. In this process, the degree of democratic consolidation also seems to play a role; ex-militaries operating in newly established democracies appear to have more opportunities to place themselves above politics.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & FrancisInforma UK Limited, 2021
Keywords
Big Men, Nigeria, Democracy, Patrimonialism, Democratization
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Research subject
Peace and Conflict Research
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-439050 (URN)10.1080/13510347.2020.1866552 (DOI)000605049700001 ()
Funder
Wallenberg Foundations
Available from: 2021-03-29 Created: 2021-03-29 Last updated: 2024-01-15Bibliographically approved
Themnér, A. & Karlén, N. (2020). Building a Safety Net: Explaining the Strength of Ex-Military Networks. Security Studies, 29(2), 268-300
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Building a Safety Net: Explaining the Strength of Ex-Military Networks
2020 (English)In: Security Studies, ISSN 0963-6412, E-ISSN 1556-1852, Vol. 29, no 2, p. 268-300Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of ex-combatants has become an integral part of peacebuilding. Although the main purpose of such interventions is to dissolve the military structures of armed groups, there is growing evidence that ex-combatant networks often remain intact. We investigate why such structures continue to thrive. We argue that ex-military networks are stronger when ex-commanders have weak links to elite patronage systems. Ex-combatants who are unable to rely on their former superiors for economic assistance must instead build denser ties to each other to gain access to a social safety net. To assess our argument, we conduct a comparative social network analysis (SNA) of two ex-military networks in Liberia. This innovative approach helps us uncover previously overlooked, but central, dynamics related to ex-combatant groups. We thereby show that SNA provides a range of underutilized tools and exact definitions that can increase our understanding of ex-military networks.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2020
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-425105 (URN)10.1080/09636412.2020.1722851 (DOI)000513628800001 ()
Funder
Swedish Research CouncilSida - Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
Available from: 2020-11-16 Created: 2020-11-16 Last updated: 2021-08-24Bibliographically approved
Themnér, A. & Sjöstedt, R. (2020). Buying Them Off or Scaring Them Straight: Explaining Warlord Democrats' Electoral Rhetoric. Security Studies, 29(1), 1-33
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Buying Them Off or Scaring Them Straight: Explaining Warlord Democrats' Electoral Rhetoric
2020 (English)In: Security Studies, ISSN 0963-6412, E-ISSN 1556-1852, Vol. 29, no 1, p. 1-33Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Post–civil war democracies are characterized by intense electoral competition. To ensure continued political relevance, ex-military-turned-politicians, or “warlord democrats” (WDs), can either engage in a rhetoric of fear or ease societal tensions by employing a rhetoric of peace. WDs’ choice of rhetoric can have a profound impact on durable peace by altering societal discourses concerning the legitimacy of using violence. A key question is therefore: Why do some WDs employ a rhetoric of fear, and others a rhetoric of peace, when running for office? We argue that the choice of rhetoric is a function of the patrimonial endowments WDs possess; if WDs lack the resources and social networks needed to distribute patronage, they may instead use a rhetoric of fear to rally voters. To highlight the explanatory value of this proposition, we compare two Liberian WDs who ran for the Senate in 2005—Adolphus Dolo and Prince Johnson.

Keywords
peacebuilding, warlords, democratization, Liberia, elections
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Research subject
Peace and Conflict Research
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-403424 (URN)10.1080/09636412.2020.1693617 (DOI)000499031200001 ()
Funder
Swedish Research CouncilMarcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation
Available from: 2020-01-28 Created: 2020-01-28 Last updated: 2021-08-24Bibliographically approved
Sjöstedt, R., Söderberg Kovacs, M. & Themnér, A. (2019). Demagogues of Hate or Shepherds of Peace?: Examining the Threat Construction Processes of Warlord Democrats in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Journal of International Relations and Development, 22(3), 560-583
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Demagogues of Hate or Shepherds of Peace?: Examining the Threat Construction Processes of Warlord Democrats in Sierra Leone and Liberia
2019 (English)In: Journal of International Relations and Development, ISSN 1408-6980, E-ISSN 1581-1980, Vol. 22, no 3, p. 560-583Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

How are threat images framed and constructed by the so-called warlord democrats (WDs)? Societies that have suffered from large-scale civil wars are commonly permeated by inter-group fear and hate. In these contexts, former military or political leaders of armed groups sometimes become involved in post-war politics. These WDs can act as reconciliation spoilers by making securitising moves, i.e. they construct threat images that are potentially very costly for fragile post-conflict democratisation processes. It is therefore crucial to explore WDs’ speech acts. Yet, the literature on post-war politics has largely overlooked these individual aspects. This article argues that the central components of securitisation theory can be useful in understanding this phenomenon if adjusted to the contextual circumstances of post-war societies. By analysing speech acts by seven WDs in post-war Liberia and Sierra Leone, two forms of framing strategies stand out as particularly relevant. First, WDs’ securitising moves are often framed as veiled threats of violence, as it is often deemed too risky for these individuals outside formal power positions to overtly express threats in a generally de-securitised setting. Second, when WDs construct threats, they often chose to frame themselves or their constituencies or followers as the referent object of security.

Keywords
warlord democrats, ex-military leaders, military leaders, warlords, democracy, peacebuilding, democratization, conflict resolution, Liberia, Sierra Leone
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Research subject
Peace and Conflict Research
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-369458 (URN)10.1057/s41268-017-0111-3 (DOI)000480500200003 ()
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2018-12-13 Created: 2018-12-13 Last updated: 2022-05-30Bibliographically approved
Themnér, A. (2019). Wealth in Ex-Combatants: Examining the Resilience of Ex-Command Structures in Post-War Liberia. Journal of Global Security Studies, 4(4), 526-544
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Wealth in Ex-Combatants: Examining the Resilience of Ex-Command Structures in Post-War Liberia
2019 (English)In: Journal of Global Security Studies, ISSN 2057-3170, E-ISSN 2057-3189, Vol. 4, no 4, p. 526-544Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Recent research has shown that disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) programs often fail to uproot wartime command structures. A key question is why some ex-commanders succeed in retaining control over their ex-fighters, while others are less successful. This study seeks to address this question by comparing four former midlevel commanders (ex-MiLCs) in Liberia and the ex-combatant networks that they head. Contrary to previous assumptions, which have stressed the tendency of ex-fighters to flock around ex-commanders operating in spaces of marginality, I argue that ex-MiLCs employed as government brokers and who funnel patronage from ruling elites to ex-combatants are likely to possess the most durable networks. These findings highlight how ex-military bonds thrive where previous research expects them to be weakest: close to government elites who are often designated as “agents of change” by international peacemakers.

Keywords
ex-combatants, DDR, disarmament, demobilization, reintegration, Liberia, peacebuilding
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Research subject
Peace and Conflict Research
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-393308 (URN)10.1093/jogss/ogy029 (DOI)000492947400009 ()
Funder
Sida - Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
Available from: 2019-09-19 Created: 2019-09-19 Last updated: 2023-06-19Bibliographically approved
Themnér, A. (2018). Commanding Abuse or Abusing Command?: Ex-Command Structures and Drugs in Liberia. Third World Thematics: A TWQ Journal, 3(1), 46-62
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Commanding Abuse or Abusing Command?: Ex-Command Structures and Drugs in Liberia
2018 (English)In: Third World Thematics: A TWQ Journal, ISSN 2380-2014, E-ISSN 2379-9978, Vol. 3, no 1, p. 46-62Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In contemporary discourses on post-war reconstruction in West Africa, ex-command structures are often assumed to play a key role in the drug economy. Such assertions have, however, not been systematically investigated. Based on in-depth field research in Liberia, this article holds that ex-command structures have not only played a limited role in the country’s drug economy, the use of and trade in drugs has had a destructive impact on ex-military networks. These findings highlight that rather than seeking to dismantle strong ex-command structures, efforts to combat the drug economy may benefit from integrating them into the statebuilding process.

KEYWORDS: Ex-command structures, drugs, crime, disarmament, demobilisation, and reintegration, Liberia, peacebuilding

Keywords
ex-combatants, ex-commanders, ex-command structures, ex-military networks, military networks, demobilization, disarmament, reintegration, drugs, narcotica, peacebuilding, conflict resolution, Liberia
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Research subject
Peace and Conflict Research; Peace and Conflict Research; Peace and Conflict Research
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-369462 (URN)10.1080/23802014.2018.1429227 (DOI)
Available from: 2018-12-13 Created: 2018-12-13 Last updated: 2020-12-08Bibliographically approved
Themnér, A. (2017). Conclusion: Ambiguous Peacelords: The Diminishing Returns of Democracy. In: Anders Themnér (Ed.), Warlord Democrats in Africa: Ex-Military Leaders and Electoral Politics (pp. 222-245). London: Zed Books
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Conclusion: Ambiguous Peacelords: The Diminishing Returns of Democracy
2017 (English)In: Warlord Democrats in Africa: Ex-Military Leaders and Electoral Politics / [ed] Anders Themnér, London: Zed Books, 2017, p. 222-245Chapter in book (Refereed)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Zed Books, 2017
Keywords
peacebuilding, democratization, military leaders, warlords, Africa
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-338160 (URN)978-1-78360-249-0 (ISBN)9781783602506 (ISBN)
Available from: 2018-01-08 Created: 2018-01-08 Last updated: 2020-02-03Bibliographically approved
Projects
Programme on Governance, Conflict and Peacebuilding; Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Peace and Conflict Research; Publications
Nilsson, D. (2012). Anchoring the Peace: Civil Society Actors in Peace Accords and Durable Peace. International Interactions, 38(2), 243-266Ohlson, T. (Ed.). (2012). From Intra-State War to Durable Peace: Conflict and Its Resolution in Africa after the Cold War. Dordrecht: Republic of Letters PublishingNilsson, D. & Söderberg Kovacs, M. (2011). Revisiting an Elusive Concept: A Review of the Debate on Spoilers in Peace Processes. International Studies Review, 13(4), 606-626Lindgren, M. (2011). Sexual Violence Beyond Conflict Termination: Impunity for Past Violations as a Recipe for New Ones?. Durban, South Africa: ACCORD (15)Höglund, K. & Jarstad, A. K. (2011). Toward Electoral Security: Experiences from KwaZulu-Natal. Africa Spectrum, 46(1), 33-59Themnér, A. (2011). Violence in Post-Conflict Societies: Remarginalization, Remobilizers and Relationships. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon: RoutledgeNilsson, D. (2010). Agreements and Sustainability. In: Nigel J. Young (Ed.), The Oxford International Encyclopedia of Peace: Volume I (pp. 30-32). New York: Oxford University PressHöglund, K. & Söderberg Kovacs, M. (2010). Beyond the Absence of War: The Diversity of Peace in Post-Settlement Societies. Review of International Studies, 36(2), 367-390Höglund, K. & Jarstad, A. K. (2010). Strategies to Prevent and Manage Electoral Violence: Considerations for Policy. Durban: ACCORDNilsson, D. (2010). Turning Weakness into Strength: Military Capabilities, Multiple Rebel Groups and Negotiated Settlements. Conflict Management and Peace Science, 27(3), 253-271
Partnership Project; Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Peace and Conflict Research
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ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0003-1884-8109

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