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Memoirs of women-in-conflict: Ugandan ex-combatants and the production of knowledge on security and peacebuilding

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jats:p The limitations of conventional accounts of security and peacebuilding drawing upon the ‘expert’ knowledge of military elites, policymakers and civil society representatives have been widely recognized. This has led security and peacebuilding policymakers, including through the United Nations Women, Peace and Security agenda, to search for alternative forms of knowledge, such as memoirs, photographs or oral histories, that better reflect lived experiences within local communities. Building on existing work on memoirs as knowledge production artefacts and on feminist security studies, this article demystifies experiential security knowledge through an analysis of three memoirs written by women ex-combatants in Uganda. We argue that while the memoirs offer complex and contradictory narratives about women ex-combatants, they are also the products of transnational mediated processes, whereby the interests of power translate complex narratives into consolidated representations and sturdy tropes of the abducted African woman ex-combatant. This means that although the three memoirs provide some hints as to transformative ways of thinking about security and peace, and offer dynamic accounts of personal experiences, they also reflect the politics of dominant representational practices. </jats:p>


Peer reviewed: True

Funder: Alborada Trust; FundRef:


Critical security studies, ex-combatants, gender, knowledge production, memoirs, Uganda

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Security Dialogue

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SAGE Publications
European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) Marie Sk?odowska-Curie actions (706888)