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"No Die, No Rest?": Coercive Discipline in Liberian Military Organisations
Försvarshögskolan, Institutionen för säkerhet, strategi och ledarskap (ISSL), Strategiavdelningen. Institutionen för freds- och konfliktforskning, Uppsala universitet, Uppsala, Sweden.
2015 (engelsk)Inngår i: Africa Spectrum, ISSN 0002-0397, E-ISSN 1868-6869, Vol. 50, nr 2, s. 3-29Artikkel i tidsskrift (Fagfellevurdert) Published
Abstract [en]

Discipline forms the backbone of all military organisations. While discipline is traditionally associated with draconian punishment, this association is increasingly only applied to non-Western contexts. African rebel movements and similar, weak organisations are represented especially often as lacking non-coercive means of instilling discipline. This article explores the utility of coercive discipline in one such context – the Second Liberian Civil War (1999–2003). I argue that Liberia’s weak military organisations faced significant restrictions when it came to employing direct coercion. Executions, which are often equated with coercion in existing literature, threatened to rive the already frail organisations. Even other formal instruments of discipline, such as military hierarchies and rules and regulations, remained contested throughout the war. Consequently, more indirect means were adopted. Ultimately, the main users of coercion were not military organisations, but peers. This suggests that it is easier for strong organisations to coerce their members, and that the relationship between coercion and organisational strength may need to be reassessed. Furthermore, existing positive perceptions of camaraderie between brothers-in-arms requires re-evaluation.

sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
2015. Vol. 50, nr 2, s. 3-29
Emneord [en]
Liberia, civil wars, armed forces/military units, social cohesion, discipline
HSV kategori
Forskningsprogram
Krigsvetenskap
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-5806ISI: 000362236800001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:fhs-5806DiVA, id: diva2:893679
Tilgjengelig fra: 2016-01-13 Laget: 2016-01-13 Sist oppdatert: 2020-01-09bibliografisk kontrollert
Inngår i avhandling
1. Bush generals and small boy battalions: military cohesion in Liberia and beyond
Åpne denne publikasjonen i ny fane eller vindu >>Bush generals and small boy battalions: military cohesion in Liberia and beyond
2016 (engelsk)Doktoravhandling, med artikler (Annet vitenskapelig)
Abstract [en]

All organizations involved in war are concerned with military cohesion. Yet previous studies have only investigated cohesion in a very narrow manner, focusing almost solely on Western state militaries or on micro-level explanations. This dissertation argues for the need to broaden this perspective. It focuses on three classic sources of cohesion – coercion, compensation and constructs (such as identity and ideology) – and investigates their relevance in the Second Liberian Civil War (1999-2003). More specifically, this dissertation consists of an inquiry of how the conflict's three main military organizations – Charles Taylor’s Government of Liberia (GoL), the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) and Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL) – drew on these three sources to foster cohesion. Based on thirteen months of ethnographic fieldwork with former combatants, this dissertation contains five parts: an introduction, which focuses on issues of theory and method, and four essays that investigate the three sources of cohesion in the three organizations. Essay I focuses on the LURD rebels, and provides an insider account of their strategy. It shows that even decentralized movements like the LURD can execute strategy, and contends that the LURD fought its fiercest battles not against the government, but to keep itself together. Essay II focuses on coercion, and counters the prevailing view of African rebels’ extensive use of coercion to keep themselves together. Since extreme coercion in particular remained illegitimate, its use would have decreased, rather than increased, cohesion. Essay III investigates the government militias to whom warfighting was subcontracted. In a context characterized by a weak state and fragmented social organization, compensation may have remained the only available source of cohesion. Essay IV investigates identities as sources of cohesion. It argues that while identities are a powerful cohesive source, they must be both created and maintained to remain relevant. Taken together, this dissertation argues for a more comprehensive approach to the investigation of cohesion, and one that also takes into account mezzo- and macro-level factors.

sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
Uppsala: Uppsala universitet, 2016. s. 83
Serie
Report / Department of Peace and Conflict Research, ISSN 0566-8808 ; 109
Emneord
Coercion, cohesion, compensation, ethnography, identity, ideology, Liberia, micro-dynamics of civil war, military sociology, strategy
HSV kategori
Forskningsprogram
Krigsvetenskap
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-6135 (URN)978-91-506-2545-5 (ISBN)
Disputas
2016-06-03, Borgen, Orphei Drängars plats 1, Uppsala, 13:00 (engelsk)
Opponent
Veileder
Tilgjengelig fra: 2016-05-25 Laget: 2016-05-25 Sist oppdatert: 2020-01-09bibliografisk kontrollert

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