I have written extensively on child and youth combatants, politics and economy of informality, contested sovereignties, media, refugees and gender in conflict and war zones.  I am the editor of African conflicts and informal power: Big Men and Networks (Zed Books February 2012), the co-editor (with Henrik Vigh and Catrine Christiansen) of Navigating youth – generating adulthood: social becoming in an African context (the Nordic Africa Institute 2006) as well as of numerous articles in journals and edited books.



The Political Landscape of Postwar Liberia: Reflections on National Reconciliation and Elections (authored with Morten Böås). In Africa Today, vol. 60, no. 4. 2014. Pp. 47-65.

“Playing the game”: gang-militia logics in war-torn Sierra Leone. In Global Gangs: Street violence across the world. Ed. Hazen, J.M. and Rodgers, D. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Pp. 171-192.

The Crisis in CAR: Navigating myths and interests (authored with Ilmari Käihkö). In Africa Spectrum, vol 49, no. 1, 2014. Pp. 69-77.

Den Central-Afrikanske Republik: Brutalt, men ikke folkedrab (with Ilmari Käihkö). In Udvikling, No. 2, 2014. Pp. 48-53.

Illicit flows and African security (edited with Mikael Eriksson and Emy Lindberg). NAI Occasional Paper 2014. Pp. 5-47.

Religionskrig, folkemord, kannibalisme? (with Ilmari Käihkö). In Bistandsaktuelt 28/2-2014.


Stig Jarle Hansen.Al-Shabaab in Somalia: the history and ideology of a militant Islamist group, 2005−2012. In International Affairs, vol 89, no. 6. Pp 1523-24, 2013.

Strategic Review for Southern Africa vol 35, No 2 (edited thematic issue together with Morten Böås). 2013.

En gång general, alltid general: krigen tar slut men militära befälsstrukturer består. In Internationella Studier, Winter 2013. Pp 51-52.

“Introduction: Post-Gaddafi repercussions in the Sahel and West Africa”. In Strategic Review for Southern Africa, vol 35, no 2, 2013.

“Im Frieden hilft der General”. In Welt-sichten, 10/2013. Pp 45-47.

Ground zero: Revival of Democratic Mali? NAI Newsletter August 2013.

Tuaregian kapina (with Morten Böås) – on the conflict in Mali. In Ulkopolitiikka, 2/2013. Pp 56-59.

C. Ryan, Children of war: child soldiers as victims and participants in the Sudan civil war. In Journal of Modern African Studies, vol 51, no. 2, 2013.

”Afrika leder sin egen utveckling”, Aftonbladet Debatt, (with Iina Soiri), June 15, 2013



African conflicts and informal power: Big Men and networks. Edited volume. Zed Books, 2012. pp. 1-256.

Urban Forum vol. 23, Issue 4. (Guest edited journal issue with Ilda Lindell). 2012

Beyond “Gender and Stir”: reflections on gender and SSR in the aftermath of African conflicts, NAI Policy Dialogue No. 9 – the Nordic Africa Institute (with Maria Eriksson Baaz), 2012. pp. 1-74.

”Young Women in African Wars”. In Beyond “Gender and Stir”: reflections on gender and SSR in the aftermath of African conflicts, eds. Maria Eriksson Baaz and Mats Utas, NAI Policy Dialogue No. 9– the Nordic Africa Institute (with Chris Coulter and Mariam Persson), 2012.

Networked City Life in Africa: Introduction (authored with Ilda Lindell). In Urban Forum vol. 23, Issue 4, 2012 Pp. 409–414.

Review essay: Danny Hoffman, The war Machines: young men and violence in Sierra Leone and Liberia. In Anthropological Quarterly, vol. 85, No. 2. Pp 581-586, 2012.

Introduction: Bigmanity and network governance in Africa. In African Conflicts and informal power: big men and networks. Ed. Mats Utas. London: Zed books, 2012. Pp. 1-34.

Urban Youth and Post-Conflict Africa: on policy priorities. NAI Policy Notes 2012/4. 2012.

Electoral Violence in Africa. NAI Policy Notes 2012/3. With Eldridge Adolfo, Mimmi Söderberg Kovacs and Daniel Nyström. 2012.



Utas, M (2011) ‘Victimcy and Social Navigation: From the Toolbox of Liberian Child Soldiers’ in Podder, S and Ozerdem, A (eds). Child Soldiers: From Recruitment to Reintegration. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 213-230.

Remobilisation and the “politricks” of ex-combatants in the 2007 general elections (authored with Maya M. Christensen). In Conflict resolution and peacebuilding in Africa: lessons from Sierra Leone. Ed. Takehiko Ochiai. Research Institute for Social Sciences, Ryukoku University/Showado, 2011. Pp. 173-204 [in Japanese].

Making Jew-Man Business: filming post-war youth in Sierra Leone. The Rise of Africa: Miracle or Mirage, Nordic Africa Institute Annual Report. Pp. 32-35, 2011.

Big Men, networks and African conflicts. SNDC Africa Programme Report no. 7, 2011. Pp. 1-35.



Ramon Sarró, The politics of religious change on the Upper Guinea Coast: iconoclasm done and undone. In Journal of Religion in Africa vol. 40, 2010. pp. 360-61.
The rewards of political violence: remobilizing ex-combatants in post-war Sierra Leone. Small Arms Survey 2010. Cambridge University Press. P. 266, 2010.
Do you know enough to watch this film? Africa in Uncertain times: Nordic Africa Institute Annual Report. Pp. 24-27, 2010.
Jew Man Business: Economies of street (documentary, 37 min.), 2010. (
”Konflikter i Afrika”. On The Swedish Institute of International Affairs’s web, September 20, 2010
”Varning för Aftonbladets Jackass journalistik i ”det mörkaste Afrika” on Newsmill April 1, 2010.

Malignant Organisms: continuities of state-run violence in rural Liberia. In Crisis of the state: war and social upheaval. Eds. Bruce Kapferer and Bjørn Enge Bertelsen, Berghahn Books, 2009. pp. 265-291.

Sexual abuse survivors and the complex of traditional healing: (G)local Prospects in the Aftermath of an African War, NAI Policy Dialogue no. 4 – the Nordic Africa Institute, 2009. pp. 1-56.

Liberia beyond the blueprints: poverty reduction strategy papers, big men and informal networks FOI/NAI lecture series on African security 2008:4 ( Pp. 1-16, 2009.

The index finger of justice: democratization in Sierra Leone. Africa in search of alternatives: Nordic Africa Institute Annual Report. Pp 28-30, 2009.

Sexual exploitation and abuse by Peacekeeping operations in contemporary Africa. NAI Policy Notes 2009/2 – the Nordic Africa Institute Publ. (authored with Fanny Rudén). 2009.


Abject heroes: Marginalised youth, Modernity and violent pathways of the Liberian Civil War. In Years of Conflict: Adolescence, Political Violence and Displacement. Ed. Jason Hart, Refugee Studies Centre/Berghahn Books. pp. 111-138.

Mercenaries of Democracy: The ‘politrix’ of remobilized combatants in the Sierra Leone 2007 General Elections (authored with Maya M. Christensen) In African Affairs vol. 107, no. 429, 2008. Pp. 515-539.
West Side Boys: military navigation in the Sierra Leone civil war (authored with Magnus Jörgel) In Journal of Modern African Studies  vol. 46, no. 3, 2008. pp. 487-511.
Young female fighters in African wars: conflict and its consequences, NAI Policy Dialogue no. 3 – the Nordic Africa Institute Publ. (authored with Chris Coulter and Mariam Persson), 2008. pp. 1-51.
Stephen Ellis: The Mask of Anarchy. In African Studies Review, vol. 51, no. 1, 2008. pp. 155-57.
When the state is a threat. Africa on the global agenda: Nordic Africa Institute Annual Report 2007. 2008, pp. 20-24 .
The Devil of Civili (short film, 5 min.).
The Pentagon Guys (short film, 5 min.).
Ezra av Newton Aduaka (review of the film Ezra). NAI Web, February 2008.


The Mano River Basin Area: formal and informal security providers in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. FOI. 2007. pp 1-112. (with Magnus Jörgel).

Watermelon politics in Sierra Leone: hope amidst vote buying and remobilized militias. African Renaissance. 4(3/4) 2007. pp. 62-66.

Freetown – Berättelser från den osynliga staden. In Den Ny Verden (tidsskrift for internationale studier), 40(2) 2007. pp. 27-37.

Fighting (in) the badlands of modernity: youth combatants and the Liberian Civil War. In Journal of Social Sciences & Management. Vol. 1, No 1 2007. pp. 37-44.

Young Women in African Wars. NAI Conflict Policy Notes no. 1, November 2007. (with Chris Coulter and Mariam Persson).

Sierra Leones vacklande demokrati (Sierra Leone’s faltering democracy). In Tidningen Kulturen, Issue 20-21, July 2007.

Presidential elections in Sierra Leone. In NAI Newsletter, 20 June 2007.

Rethinking Africa: a contribution to the Swedish Government White Paper on Africa (co-editor and co-author) May 2007.

Diamanter är för evigt – men Sierra Leonsk ungdom är utbytbar (Diamonds are forever, but Sierra Leone’s youth is disposable). NAI web April 2007.



War, violence and videotapes: media and localized ideoscapes of the Liberian Civil War. In Violence, Political Culture and Development in Africa. Ed. Preben Kaarsholm, James Currey. 2006. pp 161-180.

Youth(e)scapes (Introduction co-authored with Henrik Vigh and Catrine Christiansen). In Navigating youth – generating adulthood: social becoming in an African context, Nordic Africa Institute Publ. 2006. pp 9-28.

Navigating youth – generating adulthood: social becoming in an African context, Nordic Africa Institute Publ. (co-editor), 2006. pp 1-272.

Der Staat als Feind. In Der Überblick, 3, 2006, pp 6-9.



Gute Jungs, böse Jungs. In Jungle World, no. 31, August 3, 2005 (re-published in (WOZ) Die Wochenzeitung, October 6, 2005).

Victimcy, Girlfriending, Soldiering: Tactic Agency in a Young Woman’s Social Navigation of the Liberian War Zone. In Anthropological Quarterly, vol. 78, no 2, 2005. pp 403-430.

Building a future? The reintegration and re-marginalisation of youth in Liberia. In No Peace, No War: an anthropology of contemporary armed conflicts. Ed. Paul Richards, James Currey and Ohio University Press, 2005. pp. 137-154.

Agency of Victims: Young Women’s Survival Strategies in the Liberian Civil War. In Makers and Breakers: Children and Youth as Emerging Categories in Postcolonial Africa . Eds. Filip De Boeck & Alcinda Honwana, James Currey, 2005. pp. 53-80.



Fluid Research Fields: Studying Excombatant Youth in the Aftermath of the Liberian Civil War. In Children and Youth on the Front Line: Ethnography, Armed Conflict and Displacement . Eds. Jo Boyden & Joanna de Berry, Berghahn 2004. pp. 209-236.

Patience my ass. In Jungle World, no. 51, December 8, 2004.

Assiduous exile: strategies of work and integration among Liberian refugees in Danane, Ivory Coast. In Liberian Studies Journal, vol 29, no 2, 2004. pp. 33-58.

The violent logic of marginality: youth and the Liberian Civil War. In News from the Nordic Africa Institute no. 2 May 2004. pp 23-25.

young female

Young Female Fighters in African Wars (2008) by Chris Coulter, Mariam Persson and Mats Utas

Navigating Youth, Generating Adulthood Social Becoming in an African Context (2005)
Christiansen, Catrine, Mats Utas & Henrik Vigh (Eds.)

Sweet Battlefields: Youth and the Liberian Civil War (2003) by Mats Utas

One Response to Publications

  1. Mathias says:

    Snygg sida och bra texter. Vad duktig du är.

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