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The Tree of Love: Life writing and ‘seasons of self’ by former child soldiers in Colombia.

Charles, M. and Fowler-Watt, K., 2022. The Tree of Love: Life writing and ‘seasons of self’ by former child soldiers in Colombia. Life Writing, 19 (3), 373-393.

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PRODUCTION v.5 Life writing and seasons of the self.pdf - Accepted Version
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DOI: 10.1080/14484528.2020.1805652


Autobiographies of childhood generally focus on narratives of nostalgia or trauma, depicting notions of lost innocence. This article posits that such a Global North perspective needs to be re-imagined when listening to the ‘self-stories’ of child soldiers from Colombia’s indigenous Nasa community in the Cauca region. They described their experiences of conflict in a series of narrative workshops located around the Tree of Love, (el árbol del amor) - a place where hopes and dreams are shared, its strength and constancy representing the resilience of the Nasa people in the face of violence. These shared narratives are presented as 4 chapters, each depicting a season, characterised by a different form of epiphany, constituting “liminal experiences connected to moments of … crisis” (Denzin, 2017: 52). The article is presented in narrative style, enabling the researchers to stay close to the young child soldiers’ lives. Together these narrative extracts offer a mosaic of auto/biographical experiences that portray the journey from war child to child soldier to child survivor. The ability to resist re-recruitment in spaces that remain dangerous, where the cycle of violence is relentless, appears to be bolstered by an agency that comes from within, offering potential for post-traumatic growth.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Funded by Children of the Revolution:: Animating their lives to promote reconciliation
Uncontrolled Keywords:Colombia; child soldier; epiphany; trauma; self-story
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:34396
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:05 Aug 2020 14:09
Last Modified:10 May 2022 11:02


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