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The Gift of Violence: Ex-Militias and Ambiguous Debt Relations during Post-War Elections in Sierra Leone
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2022-6985
Danish Institute Against Torture (DIGNITY).
2016 (English)In: African Conflict and Peacebuilding Review, ISSN 2156-695X, E-ISSN 2156-7263, Vol. 6, no 2, 23-47 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article explores the political mobilization of ex- militias for support during post-war elections in Sierra Leone. Taking its point of departure from the tension between ex- militias’ potential for deployment and displacement of violence, it illuminates the ambiguous ways in which ex-militia members engage with political big men. The article suggests that the notion of debt can be employed as a prism to explain the complexities of social relations between ex-militia rank-and-file members and political elites and thus aims at shedding novel light on how big men systems and patronage work in post-war society, most notably in the political domain. By tracing particular relations between ex-militia members and political big men over time, the article empirically unravels the enduring yet ambiguous nature of debt relations and how they are shaped by and give shape to “the gift of violence.”

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 6, no 2, 23-47 p.
Keyword [en]
Sierra Leone, debt relations, big men systems, militia mobilization, elections
National Category
Other Humanities Social Anthropology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-309540DOI: 10.2979/africonfpeacrevi.6.2.02OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-309540DiVA: diva2:1052028
Available from: 2016-12-05 Created: 2016-12-05 Last updated: 2016-12-08Bibliographically approved

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Utas, Mats
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