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War and Underdevelopment$
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Frances Stewart and Valpy Fitzgerald

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780199241880

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199241880.001.0001

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Sierra Leone: War and its Functions

Sierra Leone: War and its Functions

Chapter:
(p.155) 6 Sierra Leone: War and its Functions
Source:
War and Underdevelopment
Author(s):

David Keen

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199241880.003.0006

This chapter attempts to explain the conflict in Sierra Leone by analysing the actions and goals of those orchestrating and carrying out acts of violence. This includes not only rebel violence but more particularly the largely neglected area of government violence. The discussion emphasizes the importance of local and individual goals during the conflict, and stresses the need to look at the process by which civilians became fighters. It argues that much of what appears to be ‘mindless violence’ is actually, in some sense, rational. The war in Sierra Leone has been a particularly organized kind of chaos. The war meant not simply the collapse of a system, but the creation of a different kind of system.

Keywords:   Sierra Leone, government violence, mindless violence, individual goals

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