Navigating Terrains of War: Youth and Soldiering in Guinea-Bissau

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Berghahn Books, 2006 - History - 258 pages
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"This is a timely, empirically solid, and theoretically sophisticated contribution to our understanding of one of Africa's recent 'small wars' . . . [that] throws new light on the 'crisis of youth' in post-colonial Africa, provides a fascinating critique of the notion of 'child' soldiers, explores the ways in which youth internalise the external world in negative self-images, [and] deepens our understanding of 'civil war' in Africa." . Michael Jackson, Harvard Divinity School Through the concept of "social navigation," this book sheds light on the mobilization of urban youth in West Africa. Social navigation offers a perspective on praxis in situations of conflict and turmoil. It provides insights into the interplay between objective structures and subjective agency, thus enabling us to make sense of the opportunistic, sometimes fatalistic and tactical ways in which young people struggle to expand the horizons of possibility in a world of conflict, turmoil and diminishing resources. Henrik E. Vigh is a researcher at the Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims in Copenhagen. He holds a Ph.D. from the Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen and has worked on issues of youth and conflict in both Europe and West Africa. He is currently researching undocumented West African migrants in Europe and the networks that they depend on, develop and are caught up in."
 

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Contents

Perspectives and Positions
10
Becoming Aguentas
39
Wars without Enemies
64
The Social Moratorium of Youth
89
Constructing Social
117
The Everyday of Decline
143
On Horizons
173
Bottomup Reconciliation
219
Closure
234
Bibliography
241
Index
253
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Henrik E. Vigh is Assistant Professor at the Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen. He has done research on youth, conflict and violence in Northern Ireland and West Africa and is currently engaged in researching the participation of urban youth in the democratization process in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau.

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