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Social and political fractures after wars: the role of youth violence in post-1993 Cambodia

Hensengerth, Oliver (2008) Social and political fractures after wars: the role of youth violence in post-1993 Cambodia , Duisburg, DE Institute for Development and Peace 62pp. (Social and Political Fractures After Wars: Youth Violence in Cambodia and Guatemala. Project Working Paper, 4).

Record type: Monograph (Working Paper)


The present study is part of the research project on “Social and Political Fractures after Wars: Youth Violence in Cambodia and Guatemala”. The project is financed by the German Foundation for Peace Research and is located at the Institute for Development and Peace at the University of Duisburg-Essen. The project aims at explaining different levels of youth violence in two post-war societies whose processes of war termination are regarded as successful. However, both societies face serious problems of post-war development that are closely related to the experiences of war and war termination.

While Cambodia’s democratisation process is considered more or less as a failure, Guatemala suffers from levels of violence higher than during most of the war. The differences between both countries in levels of violence and mechanisms of violence control are also visible in the incidence of youth violence. The project aims to explain these differences through the contextualisation of youth violence. Thus the main focus is directed at the societal and political fractures war and war termination cause for youth and their life-worlds. The working hypotheses were related to differences according to a) the levels of social differentiation; b) the relationship between political and economic power; c) normative frameworks; and d) the sequencing of post-war developments (namely between liberalisation and stabilisation). This approach has methodological consequences insofar as different levels of youth violence are what we seek to explain. The perspective of the actors themselves is beyond our approach. After having identified the relevant fractures this would be the task of further research. Following the Working Paper ‘Transitions of Cambodia: War and Peace, 1954 to the present’, this study locates youth and their role in society in the social, economic, and political changes in Cambodia during and after the war. It is the premise of the project that youth focus on them the particular challenges of a society after a civil war as society faces a distinct domestic set-up in which external demands for democratisation, marketisation, and pacification intervene.

The paper analyses the emergence of youth violence in this process and the role it plays for youth to find a niche for themselves in the post-war society. It examines lifeworlds of youth and presents youth as perpetrators as well as victims of violence, as they are being used by elites but also autonomously exploit opportunities that arose during the unstable post-war period and have led to patterns of violence by and against youth in present day Cambodia.

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Published date: 2008


Local EPrints ID: 174781
PURE UUID: f57992d6-e024-45e3-9c1d-2d39db6477e0

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Date deposited: 16 Feb 2011 15:50
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 12:11

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