The Child Soldier in North-South Relations1


  • 1

    The author wishes to thank Tarak Barkawi and two anonymous referees for critical remarks and suggestions. I am thankful for comments from attendees of the Centre of International Studies’ Staff and PhD Student Colloquium, University of Cambridge and the panel on “Children, Childhood and the International,” BISA Annual Conference, December 2007, where previous versions of this paper were presented.


This paper critiques the hegemonic constructions of child soldiers to be found in civil society and Anglophone media accounts. Close examination of these texts reveals that the discourse mirrors Anglophone imaginaries and preoccupations over childhood rather than the distinctive concerns of child soldiers themselves. It claims that the discourse accomplishes considerable political work in buttressing the international order between the global North and South. Furthermore, it asserts that the discourse operates as a site where wider Anglophone fears over the functioning of its personal, “private” sphere can be rehearsed and disciplined.