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Johanna Söderström

political mobilization in Chapter 5, we will first consider how this identity – and the resulting mobilization – is sustained by the veteran networks, and how these networks in turn feed into their identity and mobilization. Networks serve several functions, and enabling and constraining political mobilization is only one of them. In general, the meaning imbued in networks contributes to the identities of their members and guide political mobilization (Passy 2003 , p. 23). Thus, in order to understand these networks, it is important to explore the meaning attached to

in Living politics after war

This book is about understanding how former combatants come home after war, and how their political lives are refracted by the war and the experience of coming home itself. In particular, it captures the political mobilization among former combatants as they come home from three very different types of war: civil war (Colombia), war of independence (Namibia), and interstate war (United States involvement in the Vietnam War). The book provides a much-needed long-term perspective on peace. It also demonstrates the artificial division between literatures across the Global North and Global South, and demonstrates how these literatures speak to each other just as the three cases speak to each other. The novel use of interviews to document life histories and the inside perspective they provide also give a unique insight into the former combatants’ own perspectives on the process of coming home and their sense of political voice. This book is not about peacebuilding in the sense of interventions. Rather, it examines peace as a process through studying the lived experiences of individuals, displaying the dynamics of political mobilization after disarmament across time in the lives of fifty former combatants. The book demonstrates how the process of coming home shapes their political commitment and identity, and how the legacy of war is a powerful reminder in the lives of these former combatants long after the end of the war.

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Johanna Söderström

’ investment in the war make continuing the “struggle” non-negotiable. For those who experienced a transformation of their identity during their lives, among the Vietnam veterans the war itself was often the main reason, whereas for the M-19 and SWAPO veterans their homecoming and associated developments mattered more. In Chapter 4, “Veteran networks throughout a lifetime”, the many different functions of the veteran network became clear. This overlap between functions, combined with affective ties within the group, is a crucial determinant for the

in Living politics after war
Johanna Söderström

politics, policies, and politicians). For instance, Lee (U5) holds the government accountable for the war, and his disappointment has caused him to be more cynical, and more liberal in his politics. Similarly, Charles (U7) developed an anti-war identity, which meant that when the war was over, he disconnected from the veteran network in the first two decades of being home. This was, however, combined with a real sense of connection with other veterans, which he has acted out more since that initial period of disconnection. The lack of respect for fellow soldiers who

in Living politics after war
Johanna Söderström

This chapter turns to the political activity the former combatants have engaged in after war. Their political mobilization has waxed and waned over the years, and their veteran identity as well as veteran networks play a role in this dynamic. As such, the chapter tries to display how former combatants connect their experience of war, and of coming home, to their subsequent political mobilization. The chapter shows how experiences covered in the earlier chapters – such as coming home, questions of identity, relationship with the state, and

in Living politics after war
Abstract only
Johanna Söderström

groups. Their culture of heroes and recognition claims are important drivers for how former combatants formulate their own involvement in politics, their own conceptualization of themselves as engaged citizens. Chapter 4, “Veteran networks throughout a lifetime”, focuses instead on the role and meaning attached to other veterans in their lives. It considers what meaning is attached to the network of other veterans and what roles the network plays in their lives both now and in the past. This chapter explores how social ties between former

in Living politics after war