Married to War : Exploring forced marriage as a socialization strategy of armed groups

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Institutionen för freds- och konfliktforskning

Abstract: Previous literature introduced forced marriage as a tool to socialize combatants and increase group cohesion. Yet, explanations for why armed groups select forced marriage, and for the variation in the occurrence of forced marriage across armed groups are lacking. The question guiding this study, then, is why do some armed groups enforce marriage, when others do not?I argue that armed groups with forced recruitment are more likely to enforce marriages, because they are confronted with an abductor’s dilemma. They need to socialize forced recruits quicklyto establish allegiance. The short time-frame makes norm-compliance strategies less feasible,while increasing the potential of role-learning mechanisms. Forced marriage best fits the rolelearning socialization, thus is more likely to occur if role-learning is prioritized. The hypothesisand causal mechanism are tested in a combination of process tracing and controlled comparison of the Khmer Rouge and the Liberation Tigers in Tamil Eelam. Empirical evidence is derived from a systematic review of primary and secondary literature. The study finds moderate support for the hypothesis. The causal mechanism finds no support. However, these findings should betreated with caution, due to limitations and biases of the study.

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