Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 344979
Title War as smoke and mirrors: Sierra Leone 1991-2, 1994-5, 1995-6
Author(s) Richards, P.
Source Anthropological Quarterly 78 (2005)2. - ISSN 0003-5491 - p. 377 - 402.
Department(s) Technology and Agrarian Development
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2005
Abstract The present paper assesses the implications of various observations of war in Sierra Leone¿cross-border operations of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in 1991-2, an RUF attack on Bo in December-January 1994-5, and disruptions by private security companies of the 1995-6 peace process. The material supports the view that a basic mechanism of war is ritual action. But the scope of war-as-ritual must be properly specified. Events involved rites in the air as well as on the ground. The paper draws military agents of private security companies more fully into the picture. The strategic impact of these mercenary elements upon the course of the war was probably less than claimed. On the other hand, impact upon its ritual aspects may have been underestimated. A focus upon ritual dynamics helps make sense of a war that seems inexplicable in terms of its material incentives or ideological motives.
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