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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The displaced family: moral imaginations and social control in Pabbo, northern Uganda
Author:Mergelsberg, BenISNI
Periodical:Journal of Eastern African Studies (ISSN 1753-1063)
Geographic term:Uganda
Subjects:displaced persons
social life
social control
Abstract:Looking at the internally displaced people (IDP) camp in Pabbo, northern Uganda, this article focuses on aspects of displacement less frequently discussed. People in Pabbo were not only victimized by violence from the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels on one side and the Ugandan government on the other. They also felt threatened by the experience of a moral crisis in the IDP camp. At the centre of this crisis was the family, the place where people were supposed to care for each other and control each other's behaviour. The setting of the IDP camp was experienced as making this ideal model of mutuality and accountability impossible. The ways in which threats of witchcraft, HIV/AIDS and antisocial behaviour were discussed reflected this crisis of the family. In an effort to restore what was expressed as collectively acceptable moral values, people in Pabbo resorted to measures which to outsiders may appear violent. This led to the somewhat contradictory situation in which aid agencies, working in the region, informed people's understanding of the moral crisis (mostly through HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns) but found it impossible to reconcile their human rights-based approach with the local measures of social control aimed at restoring moral values. The people of Pabbo, this case study suggests, were far from being passive victims of powerful outside actors. Rather, they had clear ideas of the threats they experienced and found ways of acting against them. They exercised agency, but mostly within their own terms of reference. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]