Forced Migration and Armed Conflict : An Analytical Frameworkand a Case Study of Refugee-Warriors in Guinea

Gerdes, Felix


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Dokumentart: Bericht / Forschungsbericht / Abhandlung
Institut: FKRE - Forschungsstelle Kriege, Rüstung und Entwicklung
Schriftenreihe: Arbeitspapiere // Universität Hamburg, IPW, Forschungsstelle Kriege, Rüstung und Entwicklung
Bandnummer: 2006, 1
ISBN: 1432 - 8283
Sprache: Englisch
Erstellungsjahr: 2006
Publikationsdatum: 23.10.2011
Originalveröffentlichung: (2006)
SWD-Schlagwörter: Flüchtling , Krieger , Bewaffneter Konflikt , Guinea
DDC-Sachgruppe: Politik
BK - Basisklassifikation: 89.94 (Internationale Beziehungen: Sonstiges)
Sondersammelgebiete: 3.6 Politik und Friedensforschung

Kurzfassung auf Englisch:

This paper deals with the phenomenon of militarised refugee camps and settlements. Firstly an analytical framework drawing on Norbert Elias’ sociological theory is established. Society is understood as the interplay of political, economic and symbolic reproduction. Contradictions in these three dimensions form the background of organised armed conflict. Using the formula of “self-perpetuation of warfare”, the author shows that massive violence and consequent flight sharpen existing contradictions. Flight represents the exclusion of certain groups from political, economic and symbolic systems of reproduction in the home country. Processes of marginalisation are frequently repeated in the host country. Exclusion and marginalisation produce motivations to engage in armed conflict. Yet motivations need to be complemented by organisational capacities of armed actors in order to translate into actual fighting. The author argues that certain characteristics of refugee situations support the organisational capacities of rebel groups. The framework is applied in a case study of the refugee crisis in Guinea. Secondly, it is shown that the problem of militarised refugee populations is concentrated in a few countries in Africa and the Middle East. Then the author examines the impact of humanitarian aid and the host state in the cases of Israel/Palestine and the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa. Humanitarian aid may significantly increase capacities of rebel groups but tends to be a minor factor. The decisive variable is the host state. The analysis links the phenomenon of refugee-warriors to a common characteristic of the host states: instability and heavy informalisation of politics. In the quest for power, host state actors try to increase their power resources by establishing alliances with armed refugee actors. Countries in which refugee-warriors can become active are typically those where the ruling regime faces strong opposition, where political structures are authoritarian and competition for power is hardly institutionalised, and where informal political structures extend into the security sector.

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