Demagogues of hate or shepherds of peace? Examining the threat construction processes of warlord democrats in Sierra Leone and Liberia

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift


How are threat images framed and constructed by the so-called warlord democrats (WDs)? Societies that have suffered from large-scale civil wars are commonly permeated by inter-group fear and hate. In these contexts, former military or political leaders of armed groups sometimes become involved in post-war politics. These WDs can act as reconciliation spoilers by making securitising moves, i.e. they construct threat images that are potentially very costly for fragile post-conflict democratisation processes. It is therefore crucial to explore WDs’ speech acts. Yet, the literature on post-war politics has largely overlooked these individual aspects. This article argues that the central components of securitisation theory can be useful in understanding this phenomenon if adjusted to the contextual circumstances of post-war societies. By analysing speech acts by seven WDs in post-war Liberia and Sierra Leone, two forms of framing strategies stand out as particularly relevant. First, WDs’ securitising moves are often framed as veiled threats of violence, as it is often deemed too risky for these individuals outside formal power positions to overtly express threats in a generally de-securitised setting. Second, when WDs construct threats, they often chose to frame themselves or their constituencies or followers as the referent object of security.


Enheter & grupper
Externa organisationer
  • Folke Bernadotte Academy
  • Nordic Africa Institute

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Statsvetenskap (exklusive studier av offentlig förvaltning och globaliseringsstudier)


Sidor (från-till)560-583
Antal sidor24
TidskriftJournal of International Relations and Development
Utgåva nummer3
Tidigt onlinedatum2017 jul 4
StatusPublished - 2019
Peer review utfördJa