Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Global Governance and Human Security

First Advisor

Darren Kew

Second Advisor

Margaret P. Karns

Third Advisor

Jane L. Parpart


The counterinsurgency tactics employed by the Nigerian armed forces to combat Jamā'at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da'wah wa'l-Jihād, otherwise known as Boko Haram, have resulted in widespread human rights violations committed towards the civilian population. These patterns of violence echo the armed forces long history of operating with impunity in past security operations, both within internal security operations in Nigeria, as well as during peacekeeping operations under the auspices of the United Nations (UN), the African Union (AU) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Their behavioral conduct raises important questions of state armed forces who engage in acts of violence against the very population they are tasked to protect whilst under stress.

This Ph.D. research seeks to evaluate how the internal organizational culture of the Nigerian armed forces contributes to the perpetration of gender-based violence on the civilian population. Three major research questions are addressed: 1) In what way do militarized masculinities influence the behavior of individuals within the Nigerian armed forces to commit gender-based violence? 2) How does the immediate threat of direct violence by a group like Boko Haram impact on the levels of gender-based violence exhibited by the Nigerian armed forces? 3) What roles do communities have in creating an environment of permissibility that allows the occurrence of gender-based violence by the Nigerian armed forces?

This research contends that the enduring nature of the Boko Haram conflict in Nigeria has cultivated a unique environment that has led to the ongoing perpetration of gender-based violence by the Nigerian armed forces. As such, the empirical research data evaluates the perpetration of gender-based violence on the civilian population living in active conflict zones impacted by the Boko Haram insurgency, as well as ethnoreligious and inter-communal violence. My original contribution to knowledge is the analysis of the internal organizational culture through external perspectives of the civilian population. Empirical research data from members of the civilian population living with or near deployed armed forces personnel give insights into their behavioral conduct and patterns of gender-based violence. These patterns of behavior by the armed forces personnel reveal shared organizational characteristics of culture that will be analyzed both methodologically and analytically.


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