Children of Rebellion: Socialization of Child Soldiers within African Rebel Groups

This PhD project analyses the socialization of child soldiers within African rebel groups. The project particularly focuses on socialization processes within the LRA in Northern Uganda, the RUF in Sierra Leone, the LURD in Liberia, and RENAMO in Mozambique, and aims to explain how these rebel groups transform children into effective soldiers.

Dr. Lotte Vermeij successfully defended her thesis on January 20, 2014.

Based on over 400 in-depth interviews with child soldiers and their commanders, this research reveals how rebel group socialization leads to allegiance among child soldiers and how this contributes to the creation of a cohesive group. In addition, this project will focus on the implications socialization processes have for future perspectives of former child soldiers. It will address challenges and shortcomings in current rehabilitation and reintegration programs, and provide recommendations for future initiatives.

Selected publications:

  • "The Bullets Sound Like Music To My Ears: Socialization of Child Soldiers within African Rebel Groups". PhD thesis, Wageningen University, 2014.
  • “Socialization and Reintegration Challenges: A Case Study of the Lord’s Resistance Army”
    in: Ozerdem and Polder (eds) Child Soldiers: From Recruitment to Reintegration. 173 – 190
    Palgrave Macmillan, New York/London, 2011
    ISBN-10: 0230241964
    ISBN-13: 978-0230241961
  • “Children of Rebellion: Socialization of Child Soldiers within the Lord’s Resistance Army”.  Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, Oslo, October 2009. 101 pages. ISBN: 978-82-7002-254-0.

See also: