Soldiers without an army? Patronage networks and cohesion in the armed forces of the DR Congo

Verweijen, Judith (2018) Soldiers without an army? Patronage networks and cohesion in the armed forces of the DR Congo. Armed Forces & Society, 44 (4). pp. 626-646. ISSN 0095-327X

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This article analyzes the effects of patronage networks on cohesion in the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It shows that while patronage networks provide support to individual military personnel, they undermine both peer and commander–subordinate bonding. They promote unequal service conditions and statuses and link these to extra-unit and extra-military forms of social identification, which are further reinforced by soldiers’ living and generating revenue among civilians. Furthermore, they impair meritocracy and frustrate the extent to which commanders live up to their subordinates’ expectations. As they fuel internal conflicts, often around revenue generation, and foster bad service conditions and distrust toward the political and military leadership, patronage networks also undermine institutional cohesion. The article concludes that cohesion formation in the FARDC follows different patterns than in well-institutionalized and well-resourced militaries. Given that cohesion impacts combat performance and norm enforcement, these findings are relevant for defense reform efforts and military cooperation.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
Depositing User: Judith Verweijen
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2018 09:11
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2019 19:16

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