Marie E. Berry

War, Women, and Power

From Violence to Mobilization in Rwanda and Bosnia Herzegovina

Cambridge University Press 2018

New Books in African StudiesNew Books in Eastern European StudiesNew Books in Gender StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in SociologyNew Books Network April 30, 2018 Sarah E. Patterson

How can war change women’s political mobilization? Using Rwanda and Bosnia as case studies Marie E. Berry answers these questions and more in her...

How can war change women’s political mobilization? Using Rwanda and Bosnia as case studies Marie E. Berry answers these questions and more in her powerful new book, War, Women, and Power: From Violence to Mobilization in Rwanda and Bosnia Herzegovina (Cambridge University Press, 2018). Berry provides the reader with a solid history and background of how war came to be in each of these countries respectively. The book starts off by shedding light on the transformative nature of war and women’s political mobilization. Berry notes three major changes that are key throughout the book: demographic, economic, and cultural shifts. Starting with Rwanda, Berry sheds light on women’s roles as caregivers during and after the war, and how groups they formed for emotional support lead to starting programs and organizations. Moving to Bosnia, Berry lays out how this situation was similar and also different from Rwanda, noting, interestingly, that NGOs were basically non-existent there before the war. She concludes by noting the ways in which women mobilized politically but also the ways in which the changes that occurred have been limited by systemic issues like victim hierarchies or patriarchal backlash. Overall, the book is rich with information and written in a very clear, organized, and accessible way.

The book will be enjoyed by anyone interested in women and war. Folks in sociology, political science, history, women’s studies, as well as those interested in Rwanda and Bosnia specifically, will find this book fascinating. This would fit well in a graduate level Sociology course and would be a solid anchor for a substantive class on women and war.


Sarah E. Patterson is a postdoc at the University of Western Ontario. You can tweet her at @spattersearch.

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