Motherhood and Social Repair after War and Displacement in Northern Uganda


Baines, Erin, and Lara Rosenoff Gauvin. 2014. "Motherhood and Social Repair after War and Displacement in Northern Uganda." Journal of Refugee Studies 27 (2): 282-300.

Authors: Erin Baines, Lara Rosenoff Gauvin


The article is concerned with the relationship between the processes of return after mass displacement, and social repair. If mass displacement frays the social fabric of the family and community, possibilities of re-crafting a viable sociality are also found within these intimate relations. Thus, we look to the everyday as a space of negotiation and renegotiation of social relationships that make life meaningful. The article considers these propositions in the context of the forced displacement of up to 90 per cent of the Acholi population during the height of the war in northern Uganda between 1986 and 2008, and in the processes of mass return of displaced persons after the war. It takes as a point of departure the efforts of two sisters as they struggle to overcome their displacement from family networks, and seek to restore their status through the performance of Acholi notions of motherhood. Their efforts are collectivized by working with other female heads of households to trace paternal clans, and secure a future for their children. The concept of social repair, we suggest, illuminates the way return involves the day-to-day processual negotiation of relationships. [Oxford University Press]

Topics: Armed Conflict, Forced Migration, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Households Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2014

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