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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Local security and the (un)making of public authority in Gulu, Northern Uganda
Author:Tapscott, Rebecca
Periodical:African Affairs: The Journal of the Royal African Society (ISSN 1468-2621)
Geographic term:Uganda
Subjects:vigilante groups
State-society relationship
External link:https://doi.org/10.1093/afraf/adw040
Abstract:This article explores the way in which the concept of 'public' is continually and unpredictably constituted, redefined, and unmade in Gulu District, northern Uganda. It uses case studies of three local security initiatives and their conflicts with state agents to examine how public authorities establish power through a dynamic process of both claiming and denying authority, thereby divesting themselves of responsibility to intervene. It also shows that the state maintains its power over other claimants to public authority such as the local security initiatives by unpredictably shifting the boundary between public and private, and enforcing these seemingly arbitrary definitions with a very real threat of violent force. Together, these two phenomena prevent civilians from developing expectations of public authorities or creating alternative public authorities, which helps to explain the lack of state accountability to citizens in northern Uganda. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]