“African Childhood” and the Socio-cultural contexts of Child Soldiers in North-eastern Nigeria


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


Political Science and International Relations


Child soldiering has become a major feature of the Boko Haram conflict in North-eastern Nigeria. Both the insurgents and the state-affiliated militia group (the Civilian Joint Task Force) engage children to fight for their interests. The dominant perspective on child soldiers that image children in conflict as victims and vulnerable, lack the explanatory power to explain the phenomenon because it generalises childhood from the western-liberal framework. Drawing from the sociological theories of childhood, the study aims to understand the socio-cultural construction of “childhood” in Africa and use it as a framework to explain the recruitment and retention of children in the conflict in North-eastern Nigeria.