Randall A. Salm F'19

Randall A. Salm
Assistant Professor
Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, and Education
College of Southern Maryland
last updated: 10/1/2019

Mellon/ACLS Community College Faculty Fellowships 2019
Assistant Professor
Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, and Education
College of Southern Maryland
Prewar, Wartime, and Postwar Identity of Former Child Soldiers in Colombia and Syria

With roughly 200,000 child soldiers at any one time—and that number turning over every few years—child soldiers are a significant social problem. One aspect is the development of, and changes to, a sense of identity and self for the child soldier over time. This study examines child soldier identity from a life course perspective, considering the effects of prewar, wartime, and postwar experiences on personal and social identity. It explores how prewar family and community experiences; wartime combatant roles and group attachments; and postwar family, community, occupational roles, occupational statuses, group identifications, and social stigma interact to form the postwar child soldier identity. It uses grounded theory and narrative analysis to conduct a comparative study of 40 former child soldiers in Colombia and Syria.