Carpenter 2010 Children

Title Information

Author: R. Charli Carpenter

Title: Forgetting Children Born of War

Subtitle: Setting the Human Rights Agenda in Bosnia and Beyond

Place: New York, NY

Publisher: Columbia University Press

Year: 2010

Pages: 304pp.

ISBN-13: 9780231151306 (cloth) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-13: 9780231522304 (ebook) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: 20th Century, 21st Century | Bosnian History | Types: Wartime Rape / Bosnian War; Victims: Rape Children

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Additional Information

Author: Charli Carpenter, Department of Political Science, University of Massachusetts at Amherst


  Preface (p. xi)
  Abbreviations (p. xix)
  1. Theorizing Child Rights in International Relations (p. 1)
    Children Born of War and Human Rights (p. 3)
    A Word on Theory and Method (p. 6)
      Methods (p. 9)
      Outline (p. 13)
  2. "Particularly Vulnerable": Children Born of Sexual Violence in Conflict and Postconflict Zones (p. 17)
    Rape, Forced Pregnancy, and Sexual Exploitation in Conflict Zones (p. 20)
    Children Born of Wartime Rape and Exploitation (p. 23)
      Physical Impacts (p. 23)
      Economic Impacts (p. 28)
      Psychosocial Impacts (p. 33)
    Vulnerable Yet Overlooked: The Puzzle (p. 37)
  3. "Different Things Become Sexy Issues": The Politics of Issue Construction in Transnational Space (p. 39)
    Bystanding, Issue Entrepreneurship, Global Gatekeeping, and Rights Advocacy (p. 43)
    Some Unconvincing Answers (p. 48)
    Blaming and Framing: How Wrongs Matter in Rights Advocacy (p. 52)
  4. "A Fresh Crop of Human Misery": Representations of War Babies in and Around Bosnia-Herzegovina, 1991-2005 (p. 55)
    The Western Media and Bosnian Rape Babies (p. 58)
      "This Latest Bosnian Atrocity": Imperial Humanitarianism and the Balkan "Other" (p. 60)
      "Forced to Bear Serb Babies": Nationalist Propaganda and the Construction of Ethnic Divisions (p. 64)
      "The Product of Her Nightmare": Transnational Feminism and Women as War's Victims (p. 68)
      A Child Rights Frame? (p. 74)
    Conclusion (p. 78)
  5. "Protecting Children in War," Forgetting Children of War: Humanitarian Triage During the War in Ex-Yugoslavia (p. 80)
    Principles versus Practice: The Humanitarian International in Bosnia-Herzegovina (p. 82)
    Children Born of War as a Humanitarian Concern (p. 87)
      Explaining the Programming Gap (p. 90)
      A Comparison: The Islamic Sector (p. 94)
    Conclusion (p. 97)
  6. "Forced to Bear Children of the Enemy": Surfacing Gender and Submerging Child Rights in International Law (p. 99)
    Criminalizing Forced Pregnancy in International Law and Society (p. 101)
      Putting Rape on the International Agenda (p. 104)
      Forced Pregnancy as a Specific Crime (p. 106)
      Children Born of War in Forced Pregnancy Discourse (p. 108)
        Articulating Forced Pregnancy (p. 108)
        Essentializing Ethnicity: The Babies as Serbian, Non-Muslim, or Perpetrator (p. 110)
    From Discourse to Practice: Children of the Rapes in the ICTY Trials (p. 114)
    Forced Pregnancy and the Evolving Structure of International Criminal Law (p. 119)
    Conclusion (p. 124)
  7. "These Children (Who Are Part of the Genocide), They Have No Problems": Thinking About Children Born of War and Rights in Postwar Bosnia-Herzegovina (p. 127)
    Human Rights and Postconflict Politics (p. 129)
      Political Decentralization (p. 132)
      Low Salience of Women's and Children's Issue (p. 133)
      National and Transnational Relations (p. 135)
    "A Particularly Sensitive Issue"
      The Role of Postwar Nationalism (p. 139)
    Contested Rights Claims in Postwar Civil Society (p. 146)
      A Tale of Two Films (p. 154)
    Conclusion (p. 161)
  8. "A Very Complicated Issue&quot: Agenda Setting and Agenda Vetting in Transnational Advocacy Networks (p. 164)
    Rights-Based Nonadvocacy: Who is Vulnerable? Says Who? Will Advocacy Help? (p. 165)
    Issues and Advocacy Turf: Who Owns the Problem? (p. 167)
    Conflicts over Rights: What's at Stake in Issue Adaption? (p. 170)
    Case Study: The Politics of Issue Construction at UNICEF (p. 174)
    "Too Controversial": Resistance by Ethnic Victims in Bosnia-Herzegovina (p. 178)
    "Keeping Both Mother and Child Human": Counterframing by GBV Response Advocates (p. 180)
    Conclusions (p. 185)
  9. The Social Construction of Children's Human Rights (p. 189)
  Notes (p. 197)
  Appendix (p. 233)
  References (p. 235)
  Index (p. 255)


Sexual violence and exploitation occur in many conflict zones, and the children born of such acts face discrimination, stigma, and infanticide. Yet the massive transnational network of organizations working to protect war-affected children has, for two decades, remained curiously silent on the needs of this vulnerable population.
Focusing specifically on the case of Bosnia-Herzegovina, R. Charli Carpenter questions the framing of atrocity by human rights organizations and the limitations these narratives impose on their response. She finds that human rights groups set their agendas according to certain grievances-the claims of female rape victims or the complaints of aggrieved minorities, for example-and that these concerns can overshadow the needs of others. Incorporating her research into a host of other conflict zones, Carpenter shows that the social construction of rights claims is contingent upon the social construction of wrongs. According to Carpenter, this pathology prevents the full protection of children born of war.« (Source: Columbia University Press)


Hesford, Wendy S. Journal of Human Rights 10(1) (2011): 126-130. – Full Text: Taylor & Francis Online [Restricted Access]

Legvold, Robert. Foreign Affairs 89(6) (November-December 2010). – Full Text: Foreign Affairs [Free Access]

Schapper, Andrea. H-Human-Rights (July 2011). – Full Text: H-Net Reviews [Free Access]

Zawati, Hilmi M. ILAF Review Articles 1 (2012): 1-21. – Full Text: Social Science Research Network [Free Access]

Wikipedia: Bosnian War, Pregnancy from rape, Rape in the Bosnian War, War rape

Added: May 10, 2014 | Last updated: May 10, 2014