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Demagogues of hate or shepherds of peace? Examining the threat construction processes of warlord democrats in Sierra Leone and Liberia

Sjöstedt, Roxanna LU ; Kovacs, Mimmi Söderberg and Themnér, Anders (2017) In Journal of International Relations and Development
Abstract

How are threat images framed and constructed by the so-called warlord democrats (WDs)? Societies that have suffered from large-scale civil wars are commonly permeated by inter-group fear and hate. In these contexts, former military or political leaders of armed groups sometimes become involved in post-war politics. These WDs can act as reconciliation spoilers by making securitising moves, i.e. they construct threat images that are potentially very costly for fragile post-conflict democratisation processes. It is therefore crucial to explore WDs’ speech acts. Yet, the literature on post-war politics has largely overlooked these individual aspects. This article argues that the central components of securitisation theory can be useful in... (More)

How are threat images framed and constructed by the so-called warlord democrats (WDs)? Societies that have suffered from large-scale civil wars are commonly permeated by inter-group fear and hate. In these contexts, former military or political leaders of armed groups sometimes become involved in post-war politics. These WDs can act as reconciliation spoilers by making securitising moves, i.e. they construct threat images that are potentially very costly for fragile post-conflict democratisation processes. It is therefore crucial to explore WDs’ speech acts. Yet, the literature on post-war politics has largely overlooked these individual aspects. This article argues that the central components of securitisation theory can be useful in understanding this phenomenon if adjusted to the contextual circumstances of post-war societies. By analysing speech acts by seven WDs in post-war Liberia and Sierra Leone, two forms of framing strategies stand out as particularly relevant. First, WDs’ securitising moves are often framed as veiled threats of violence, as it is often deemed too risky for these individuals outside formal power positions to overtly express threats in a generally de-securitised setting. Second, when WDs construct threats, they often chose to frame themselves or their constituencies or followers as the referent object of security.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
epub
subject
keywords
Liberia, Post-conflict politics, Securitisation, Sierra Leone, Threat construction, Warlord democrats
in
Journal of International Relations and Development
pages
24 pages
publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
external identifiers
  • scopus:85021835208
ISSN
1408-6980
DOI
10.1057/s41268-017-0111-3
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
1ab24205-2a77-4b04-924f-82c282d9bff9
date added to LUP
2017-07-18 14:24:42
date last changed
2017-07-18 14:24:42
@article{1ab24205-2a77-4b04-924f-82c282d9bff9,
  abstract     = {<p>How are threat images framed and constructed by the so-called warlord democrats (WDs)? Societies that have suffered from large-scale civil wars are commonly permeated by inter-group fear and hate. In these contexts, former military or political leaders of armed groups sometimes become involved in post-war politics. These WDs can act as reconciliation spoilers by making securitising moves, i.e. they construct threat images that are potentially very costly for fragile post-conflict democratisation processes. It is therefore crucial to explore WDs’ speech acts. Yet, the literature on post-war politics has largely overlooked these individual aspects. This article argues that the central components of securitisation theory can be useful in understanding this phenomenon if adjusted to the contextual circumstances of post-war societies. By analysing speech acts by seven WDs in post-war Liberia and Sierra Leone, two forms of framing strategies stand out as particularly relevant. First, WDs’ securitising moves are often framed as veiled threats of violence, as it is often deemed too risky for these individuals outside formal power positions to overtly express threats in a generally de-securitised setting. Second, when WDs construct threats, they often chose to frame themselves or their constituencies or followers as the referent object of security.</p>},
  author       = {Sjöstedt, Roxanna and Kovacs, Mimmi Söderberg and Themnér, Anders},
  issn         = {1408-6980},
  keyword      = {Liberia,Post-conflict politics,Securitisation,Sierra Leone,Threat construction,Warlord democrats},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {07},
  pages        = {24},
  publisher    = {Palgrave Macmillan},
  series       = {Journal of International Relations and Development},
  title        = {Demagogues of hate or shepherds of peace? Examining the threat construction processes of warlord democrats in Sierra Leone and Liberia},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/s41268-017-0111-3},
  year         = {2017},
}