Johanna Söderström
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Paths of mobilization
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This chapter turns the focus instead to the political activity of these former combatants after war, asking what paths of political mobilization they have embarked on after coming home from war. In this chapter it becomes clear that war and homecoming experiences have left many traces on the former combatants’ political lives. These experiences, as well as the network and identity, shape their political engagement, both positively and negatively, and together they make up their political life. How their political mobilization waxes and wanes over the years, was in part captured through life diagrams drawn during the interviews. These different life paths can be divided into three types of mobilization paths: Resilient (sustained or increased political mobilization), Remobilized (falling in and out of politics, often multiple times), and Removed (leaving politics). This typology of mobilization paths shows how former combatants from each of the three cases follow similar paths. The distribution of individuals across these types, however, did seem to be gendered, as no women remobilized once they left politics. The chapter highlights how the war experience and the homecoming experience, as well as how their identity as a veteran and their networks, are understood as crucial in shaping these political paths, through both encouraging and depressing their political mobilization. The ways in which these pressures originate and reappear across their lives help us understand why former combatants, not only in these three cases, are often involved in long-term political mobilization.

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