Christine Ryan; Children of War: Child Soldiers as Victims and Participants in the Sudan Civil War. I.B. Tauris 2012, ISBN 978-1-78076-017-9

There is quite a lot written about child soldiers in rebel wars in particular on the African continent. As Ryan clearly points out, and writes against, the bulk takes a victim perspective of child soldiers. A few studies, including my own on Liberia, have started on neutral grounds and have been able to show that a simple victim perspective has more to do with faulty research methods than realities on the ground. A nice thing with Ryan’s study is that the rebel army which she has studied, SPLA, won the war and eventually transformed into government of South Sudan. Child soldiers within this rebel army have thus lesser motives of downplaying their agency, as is often the case of other rebel armies in African warzones. This has rendered a whole range of alternative answers to reasons for joining the rebel army at a young age, beyond forceful conscription, and also motives for purporting soldier life. Continue reading