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Being normal: stigmatisation of Lord's Resistance Army returnees as 'a moral experience' in post-war northern Uganda

Macdonald, Anna and Kerali, Raphael (2020) Being normal: stigmatisation of Lord's Resistance Army returnees as 'a moral experience' in post-war northern Uganda. Journal of Refugee Studies. ISSN 0951-6328

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Identification Number: 10.1093/jrs/fez117

Abstract

The literature on Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) returnees in Acholiland, northern Uganda tells us that those who returned from the rebel group are likely to experience stigma and social exclusion. While the term is deployed frequently, ‘stigma’ is not a well-developed concept and most of the evidence we have comes from accounts of returnees themselves. Focusing instead on the ‘stigmatizers’, this article theorizes stigmatization as part of the ‘moral experience’ of regulating post-war social repair. Through interview-based and ethnographic methods, it finds that stigmatization of LRA returnees takes many forms and serves multiple functions, calling into question whether this catch-all term actually obscures more than it illuminates. While stigmatization is usually practised as a form of ‘social control’, its function can be ‘reintegrative’ rather than purely exclusionary. Through the northern Uganda case study, this article seeks to advance conceptual and empirical understanding of the manifestations and functions of stigmatization in spaces of return, challenging the logic underpinning those interventions that seek to reduce it.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://academic.oup.com/jrs
Additional Information: © 2020 The Authors
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DT Africa
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2020 13:36
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2020 12:06
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/103273

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