|About the Book|
This study considers the intersection of locality with international security through the lens of one of the larger manpower drivers of recent African wars---child soldiers. Local norms and networks in child soldiering illuminate two aspects ofMoreThis study considers the intersection of locality with international security through the lens of one of the larger manpower drivers of recent African wars---child soldiers. Local norms and networks in child soldiering illuminate two aspects of international security---the problem of war contagion and the challenges of international regime efficacy.-First, is the relationship between local capabilities and the expansion of war. In sub-Saharan Africa, regional conflict and child soldiering are intertwined. A theoretical concern with porous borders and weak states contends the role of locality can serve as a stimulus and momentum for expanding war. This study compares the border regions of the Namibian Kavango with the Mano River and Kailahun regions of Sierra Leone as war began to cross over from Angola and Liberia, respectively. It dissects local configurations and finds that border localities are not endemically dangerous. Instead, expected and unexpected pathways of local action can make a difference in both in the degree of wars spread and the extent of childrens participation.-Second, what could be called a global anti-child soldiering regime, an international configuration strongly linked to the protection-based theoretic in human security, emerged and flourished over the past 15 years. Programmatic actions against child soldiering, accompanied by international legal norms shunning child soldiering, have escalated dramatically. Yet, international estimates of child soldiers active in combat did not diminish. On the contrary, child soldiering grew from 250,000 children a year in 1998, to more than 300,000 in 2005. Why havent these actions halted child soldiering growth?-In the details of local involvement and resistance to cross-border child soldiering, distinct gaps between the conceptual and substantive factors of import in prevention locally, and those stressed by anti-child soldier networks globally, come to light. The findings in this study provide needed political specificity for the human security literature and the global anti-child soldiering regime. The concrete conditions and localized ideas where efforts to thwart child soldiering have had some success (Namibia) and where they have not (Sierra Leone) concretize human security through the concept of capabilities, for use in conflict zones. A framework for evaluating conflict conditions, and an analytic for targeted support to elements that push away from violent involvement on the whole---and involvement of children specifically---flow from the studys findings.