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Review Article

When they joined: restricted agency and victimhood in Kenyan women’s pathways into Al-Shabaab

Hawa Noor Zitzmannemail-imageHawa Noor Zitzmann

Hawa Noor Zitzmann is an Affiliated Fellow at the University of Bremen’s Institute for Intercultural and International Studies. Her research focuses on political violence (specifically religion-justified militancy/Al-Shabaab) from the perspective of international relations/feminist international relations. She has an MA in Peace and Conflict from Otto Von Guericke University. In 2019, she was a visiting scholar at the University of North Carolina’s Center for European Studies and the Department of African and Afro-American Studies.

email-image noorhawaian@gmail.com

Abstract

It has been claimed, often without evidence, that women have flocked to Al-Shabaab to work as fundraisers, cooks, intelligence officers, suicide bombers and sex slaves, and have even recruited others into the group. After attacks, such as that on Mombasa’s Central Police Station, which have involved women, their motivations have been ascribed to factors including ideological commitment; the desire for financial gain, fame or danger; love; the pursuit of vengeance; curiosity; coercion; and kidnap. Attention paid to women’s motives tends to be informed by the perception that women are automatically victims of violence, but the phenomenon is more complex than that. In this article, the testimonies of Kenyan women who have participated in Al-Shabaab’s activities are used to explore the complex and multifaceted realities and multiple factors that enabled their mobilisation. Three motivational pathways that led Kenyan women into Al-Shabaab are identified, and Al-Shabaab’s mobilisation strategies are also addressed.

Keywords

Al-Shabaabreligion-justified militancypoliticised religionpoliticised Islamjihadmobilisation
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Published on: 22 June 2023
Volume: 11
Issue: Supplementary issue 1
Article ID: 015
Pages:15 - 36
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© The author(s) 2023.
Cite this article
Zitzmann (2023), ' When they joined: restricted agency and victimhood in Kenyan women’s pathways into Al-Shabaab ', Journal of the British Academy, 11(Supplementary issue 1): 015 https://doi.org/10.5871/jba/011s1.015

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Normal View Dyslexic View

When they joined: restricted agency and victimhood in Kenyan women’s pathways into Al-Shabaab

Hawa Noor Zitzmannemail-imageHawa Noor Zitzmann

Hawa Noor Zitzmann is an Affiliated Fellow at the University of Bremen’s Institute for Intercultural and International Studies. Her research focuses on political violence (specifically religion-justified militancy/Al-Shabaab) from the perspective of international relations/feminist international relations. She has an MA in Peace and Conflict from Otto Von Guericke University. In 2019, she was a visiting scholar at the University of North Carolina’s Center for European Studies and the Department of African and Afro-American Studies.

email-image noorhawaian@gmail.com